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  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
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  3. Mexican Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Holding Hostages Following HSI Laredo, Partner Investigation

Mexican Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Holding Hostages Following HSI Laredo, Partner Investigation

Release Date: February 13, 2024

LAREDO, Texas — A Mexican citizen was sentenced for holding multiple men against their will and demanding ransom following a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Border Patrol and Webb County Precinct 2 Constable’s Office investigation.

Edgardo Hernandez-Zamora, 27, was sentenced Feb. 13 to life in prison. He pleaded guilty June 8, 2023. His co-conspirators, Adrian Ramirez, 20, and Adrian Ramirez-Vasquez, 39, both from Mexico, previously pleaded guilty to their roles and received 48 and 60 months in prison, respectively. Neither is a U.S. citizen and both are expected to face removal proceedings following their imprisonment.

“The actions of this defendant highlight the dangers of human smuggling and the risks law enforcement face while carrying out their duties. Hernandez-Zamora schemed to kidnap and extort migrants for personal profit,” said HSI San Antonio Special Agent in Charge Craig S. Larrabee. “This defendant will spend the rest of his life in federal prison for his actions. Smuggling people is extremely dangerous for all involved, and HSI will continue to work aggressively to bring these criminals to justice.”

According to court documents, in February 2023, law enforcement officials arrived at a Laredo residence after learning of a potential kidnapping. During their investigation, authorities heard loud banging coming from a window in the home and observed men crying and screaming in Spanish, “They were kidnapping us.” Authorities determined the men were being held against their will while Hernandez-Zamora communicated with their family members to demand ransom payments. Hernandez-Zamora threatened to tie up the victims and harm them. He also said they would not see their families again if they did not comply. One of the men’s family members paid $3,500 as a partial payment of the ransom.

Ramirez and Ramirez-Vasquez both conspired with Hernandez-Zamora in operating the stash house where the men were held.

Hernandez-Zamora remains in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas Brandon Scott Bowling prosecuted the case.

HSI San Antonio continues to address the serious public safety threat posed by human smuggling organizations and their reckless disregard for the health and safety of the people they exploit. To report suspicious smuggling activity, call 866-347-2423.

Last Updated: 04/22/2024
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