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Press Release

Columbus Woman Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Kidnap Man After Cocaine Sale Failed

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Citlaly Casillas, 22, of Columbus, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to commit kidnapping following a failed drug transaction.


Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Angela L. Byers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, Timothy J. Plancon, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Gahanna Police Chief Dennis Murphy and Westerville Police Chief Joseph Morbitzer announced the plea offered before U.S. Magistrate Judge Norah McCann King.


According to the Statement of Facts in this case, Casillas and co-defendant William Hernandez Castillo conspired to kidnap an individual from April 4 through April 7.


In March, the individual told Casillas that an associate of his wanted to buy one kilogram of cocaine. Casillas and Hernandez agreed and intended to sell the cocaine for more than $30,000.


When the time came to complete the transaction on April 4, the associate took the cocaine without paying.


Hernandez then called the owner of the drugs, who was in Mexico, to discuss how to respond. The owner of the drugs told Hernandez to hold the individual responsible for his associate. The owner said if he did not receive the drugs or the money, he would send enforcers to deal with the individual and his family.


Following the phone call, Hernandez told the individual that he had to come with Hernandez and Casillas.


From April 4 through April 7, Hernandez and Casillas seized, confined and kidnapped the victim for ransom at their Columbus residence. Hernandez told the victim that people from Mexico would harm his family if the drug owner did not receive the drugs or money.


“During his confinement, Casillas told the victim stories of a 2015 fatal shooting at La Michoacana market in Columbus in order to scare him and keep him from leaving the residence,” U.S. Attorney Glassman said. “She joked that Hernandez would cut off one of the victim’s fingers if he left.”


After contacting his girlfriend and mother, the victim was driven by Hernandez on April 7 to a location in Columbus, where they believed ransom money was waiting. When the victim arrived at the drop location, law enforcement secured him.


Casillas was arrested during the execution of a search warrant at her residence on April 17. Hernandez was arrested the same day, and the two have remained in custody since.


Conspiracy to commit kidnapping is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.


Hernandez has also signed a plea agreement agreeing to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit kidnapping. His hearing to formally plead guilty has not yet been scheduled.


U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the FBI, DEA, Gahanna Police and Westerville Police, as well as Assistant United States Attorney Peter K. Glenn-Applegate, who is representing the United States in this case.


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Updated October 19, 2017

Drug Trafficking