Pharr man convicted of kidnapping for ransom in Mexico
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas
McALLEN, Texas – A 26-year-old Pharr man has admitted to hostage taking, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.
Sixto Gonzalez Jr. admitted he unlawfully detained a 19-year-old Alamo man in order to force a ransom to be paid for his safe return.
On June 23, 2021, Gonzalez lured the victim into Mexico by purporting to have a potential job opportunity to give him. Gonzalez picked the victim up after the victim crossed into Mexico on foot. When they arrived at a house located in Reynosa, Mexico, Gonzalez and several co-conspirators beat and restrained the victim. Between June 23 and June 25, 2021, Gonzalez and his co-conspirators demanded $5,000 and a firearm in exchange for his return.
When the family could not immediately obtain the funds, conspirators sent a video to the victim’s family with footage of him being beaten with a wooden board until the board fractured.
Law enforcement eventually determined the location of the house where he was being held. They conducted a search of the home and found the victim bound with zip ties, covered with a blanket and with bruises throughout his body. They also discovered Gonzalez located inside the house.
U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa will impose sentencing Aug. 18. At that time, Gonzalez faces up to life in prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
He has been and will remain in custody pending that hearing.
The FBI conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Reynosa State police in Tamaulipas, Mexico. Assistant U.S. Attorney Colton Turner and Roberto Lopez is prosecuting the case.
Updated May 15, 2023