McALLEN, Texas – Several men
who resided in the Mission area have been ordered to prison for their
involvement in an illegal alien hostage taking scheme, announced Acting U.S.
Attorney Abe Martinez.
Luis Aguilar Jr., 19;
brothers Alhan Sanchez, 20, and Aaron Sanchez, 21, and Ricardo Renteria, 26,
all of Mission; and Renteria’s nephew Ricardo Renteria-Rivera, 23, a Mexican
citizen illegally present in the United States, all pleaded guilty to a conspiracy
to commit hostage taking.
In handing down the
sentences, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez said that a strong message needs
to be sent and ordered Aguilar to serve 350 months in federal prison. Brothers
Alhan and Aaron Sanchez were sentenced to 324 and 195 months, respectively.
Renteria-Rivera was ordered to serve a 290-month-sentence, while his uncle will
serve a sentence of 300 months imprisonment.
Aguilar Jr.’s father, Luis
Aguilar, 64, and Jose Luis Rodriguez-Melchor, 30, both pleaded guilty to being
an illegal alien unlawfully present in the United States after deportation and
to harboring an illegal alien and were sentenced to 97 and 105 months,
respectively. They and Renteria-Rivera are expected to face deportation
proceedings following their release from prison, while the remaining defendants
were further ordered to serve three years of supervised release following their
release from prison.
The investigation revealed
that a group of illegal aliens had been held at a stash house awaiting further
transportation north. On the night of May 2, 2016, a home invasion crew
that included an armed Aguilar Jr. came into the stash house and demanded the
aliens leave with them. The caretaker of the stash house was on the ground with
a gun to his head. The aliens were then taken to another location where their
cell phones and most of their belongings were taken from them.
Some of the undocumented
aliens were taken to Aguilar Jr.’s residence which he shared with his father.
While there, Aguilar Jr. told them that their initial smuggling arrangements
were no good anymore and they had to make new arrangements with him. Aguilar
Jr. held them at gunpoint and demanded the aliens give him the names and phone
numbers of family members whom he then called to demand $2,000 for their
After receiving the money,
Aguilar Jr. turned the aliens over to Rodriguez-Melchor to arrange smuggling
the aliens further north. Instead, however, Rodriguez-Melchor sold the aliens
to Renteria-Rivera for $200 each. Again, family members were called and
told they must send additional monies to secure their release. The
Renterias carried weapons and threatened to shoot the aliens if anyone tried to
escape. Renteria helped pick up the money and then took the aliens to a parking
lot in McAllen where they were supposed to sneak into the air dams of
Instead of doing so, three of
the aliens turned themselves in to Border Patrol. On May 18, 2016, authorities
executed three search warrants. At that time, they seized firearms from
the Aguilar, Sanchez and Renteria residences. All of the defendants were
eventually located and arrested.
All have been in federal
custody since their arrests and will remain in custody pending their transfer
to the Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Immigration and Customs
Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and Border Patrol conducted the
investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Leonard is prosecuting the