Texas – Following a trial before U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, two men
have been convicted for their role in an extortion and kidnapping scheme that
occurred in Fort Worth in October 2017, announced Erin Nealy Cox, U.S. Attorney
for the Northern District of Texas.
Anderson, 19, and Albert Gonzalez, 18, were each convicted of one count of a
conspiracy to use an interstate facility to commit a travel act violation.
Currently, they each face a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine
of $250,000. Judge O’Connor reserved ruling on the two remaining counts,
following the one-day bench trial.
to the evidence presented at trial and the documents filed in this case, on
September 22, 2017, a victim began receiving threatening calls from an
unrecognizable Mexican telephone number. The caller stated he had
kidnapped the victim’s two brothers in Rioverde, San Luis Potosi, Mexico and
demanded $300,000 or they would be killed. The next day the ransom demand
was lowered to $40,000 and then again to $20,000. Instructions were given
to deliver the money, once the money was delivered the caller disclosed the
location of the brothers and they were found tied up in a motel room in
Rioverde, San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
September 29, 2017, the same victim received another call from the same Mexican
telephone number demanding an additional $100,000 or else they would kidnap the
brothers again and kill them. The deadline for the second ransom drop was
Friday, October 13, 2017.
October 13, 2017, the kidnappers in Mexico and the victim agreed to a location
at a Home Depot in Fort Worth for the money drop. At approximately 4:30
p.m., a controlled money drop was made at the agreed upon meeting
thereafter, four individuals – Anderson, Gonzalez, Fernando Cabrera (who
previously pled guilty), and a 17 year-old minor – were arrested as they
attempted to collect the ransom money.
trial, the government proved that these four individuals believed that they
were collecting $20,000 in unlawful proceeds. The four conspirators had
met in McAllen, Texas, and then drove to Houston, then to Dallas, and then to
Fort Worth in an attempt to collect the money. These four conspirators
communicated with other conspirators in Mexico during the trip about the
location of the money pick, the amount of money to be retrieved, and
precautions that should be taken to avoid detection.
FBI and the North Richland Hills Police Department investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys P.J. Meitl and Chris Wolfe prosecuted.