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2 men sentenced to prison in HSI Tucson smuggling and hostage case

Human Rights2 men sentenced to prison in HSI Tucson smuggling and hostage case

TUCSON, Ariz. — On June 2, a judge sentenced a Mexican national to 18 years in prison for his involvement in human smuggling, hostage taking and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigated the case with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Marana Police Department.

Olegario Lares-De La Rosa, 30, of Mexico, was convicted of conspiracy to commit hostage taking, conspiracy to transport illegal aliens for profit, transportation of illegal aliens, and felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition after a jury trial in February 2023.

“Human smuggling not only threatens the security of our nation, but as proven in this case and time-and-time, is coupled with dangerous and violent behavior,” said HSI Arizona Special Agent in Charge Scott Brown. “Through a significant joint effort with our law enforcement partners, these sentencings signify another victory as we continue to investigate and dismantle those who conspire to undermine our nation’s laws for their own profit.”

Ivan Heriberto Borboa-Ruiz, 28, of Mexico, Lares-De La Rosa’s co-conspirator, was sentenced June 1 to 14 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit hostage taking, and illegal alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

On April 6, 2022, HSI received a tip from an individual in New York who reported that his two cousins were being held captive and that their captors had demanded a $16,000 ransom for their release. The two victims were undocumented noncitizens who were abducted by three armed men after illegally crossing into the United States; four other people were also in the victims’ group. One of the victims was kicked in the head when he refused to cooperate. The armed captors confiscated the victims’ cellphones and transported all six to a house where they were held for days in a room with the door screwed shut at night. The two cousins were the final hostages to have the ransom paid.

Borboa-Ruiz made the phone calls arranging for the ransom and hostage exchange. On April 8, 2022, Borboa-Ruiz arrived at the location of the money exchange in Tucson and met with two undercover agents. Borboa-Ruiz, who was armed with a loaded 9mm pistol, received and counted the $16,000 in cash twice to confirm the ransom had been paid. He then made a phone call saying “they were good” and that the two victims could be released. Lares-De La Rosa was parked a short distance away with the two victims. Shortly after the money exchange, Lares-De La Rosa directed the victims to get out of the car. They walked single file to the vehicle where the ransom had been paid. As the two victims reached the undercover vehicle, Borboa-Ruiz was immediately arrested by law enforcement.

While HSI special agents were arresting Borboa-Ruiz, Lares-De La Rosa sped away, leading agents on a high-speed vehicle chase. During the pursuit, Lares-De La Rosa threw a loaded 9mm pistol out of the window and bailed out of the vehicle. He then fled into a residential neighborhood, concealing himself in several private backyards before being arrested.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Serra M. Tsethlikai of the District of Arizona in Tucson prosecuted the case.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity.

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