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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Siblings Get Significant Sentences In Hostage Taking Case

McALLEN, Texas ‐ Rafael Cruz, 25, and Roberto Cruz, 27, both of Mission, have been ordered to federal prison to serve lengthy sentences as a result of their convictions for conspiracy to commit hostage taking, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Both defendants, who are brothers, pleaded guilty Feb. 4, 2014.

Late this afternoon, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez sentenced Rafael Cruz to a sentence of 480 months imprisonment. The sentence was enhanced as the court took into consideration the fact he had sexually assaulted a female undocumented alien on a number of occasions. Judge Alvarez then sentenced Roberto Cruz to a sentence of 360 months for his role in the hostage taking conspiracy. After their sentences, they will each have to serve a five-year-term of supervised release. Also sentenced today was the sister of the Cruz brothers, Jisel Emery Cruz, 30, of Penitas, who was ordered to serve 46 months for harboring aliens.
On Sept. 9, 2013, law enforcement received a 911 call from an illegal alien claiming he and a group of other undocumented aliens were being held against their will at a stash house in Edinburg. Upon their rescue, these individuals told law enforcement they were kidnapped at gunpoint from a stash house by the Cruz brothers and a third individual who is a fugitive and taken to the stash house in Edinburg. There, they were made to call their families and request money to be paid for their release. They were also threatened with death if the money was not paid.
The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, Border Patrol, Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office and Edinburg Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Kimberly Ann Leo and Kristen Rees prosecuted the case.

Updated April 30, 2015