Sunland Park man sentenced for holding Cuban migrants for ransom

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Adrian Acevedo is one of four individuals who pleaded guilty in case involving two sisters held pending payment of $1,500 from their brother

Adrian Acevedo (courtesy Doña Ana County)

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EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – A federal judge has sentenced a Sunland Park, New Mexico, man to 15 years in prison on charges of conspiring to take a hostage and conspiracy to harbor unauthorized migrants.

Adrian Acevedo (courtesy Doña Ana County)

The sentence against Adrian Acevedo stems from the illegal detention of two Cuban nationals – two sisters – who were later rescued by Sunland Park police on Oct. 4, 2019. The incident involved the payment of a $1,500 ransom by the women’s brother, the Department of Justice said.

Acevedo also kept an unauthorized migrant in his home Nov. 15 through Nov. 17, 2019, until transport to another residence was arranged, federal officials said.

Federal agents arrested Acevedo on Nov. 19, 2019. In his plea agreement, Acevedo, 37, admitted that he harbored the migrant for personal financial gain and that he knew what he was doing was illegal, the Department of Justice said.

Acevedo will be under three years supervised released after he completes his prison time.

Two men and one woman also pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to take a hostage in connection with the Cuban women. Willie Espinoza took the women from Acevedo’s home to another house where he, Judith Clouser and David Diaz detained them until they received money from the brother.

Espinoza was sentenced to nine years in prison and Diaz received a five-year and three-month penalty. The Department of Justice didn’t say if Clouser has been sentenced.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigated the case with assistance from the U.S. Border Patrol, the Hatch Police Department and the Sunland Park Police Department.

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