Four men and one woman from the border city of Laredo, Texas have been sentenced to federal prison in connection with the kidnapping at gunpoint of a woman, and the attempted kidnapping of her daughter, under orders from the fearsome Los Zetas drug cartel.
The case stems from $2 million in cartel cash that was to be moved from Chicago to a Laredo warehouse, but the money was stolen by the courier who was supposed to take it to Nuevo Laredo, information provided to Breitbart Texas by the U.S. Attorney’s Office revealed.
The cartel found the courier and three of his relatives, and “had planned to pick them all up and kill them if the money was not returned,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a prepared statement. “The kidnapping had been ordered by Los Zetas in retribution for a money load alleged to have been stolen.”
On the night of September 19, 2010, Laredo Police responded to a house on the 1300 block of Eisetter Street, where a 14-year-old girl told them that a group of gunmen – later found to be members of the gang Hermanos Pistoleros Latinos who were working for Los Zetas – had taken her mother. The gang tried to kidnap her too, but she managed to flee.
Laredo police and federal agents learned that the woman had been taken to the house of 33-year-old Efrain Garza, where he and 35-year-old Grace Diaz Martinez blindfolded the woman and used duct tape to tie her up.
When police arrived, they caught Garza, Martinez, and 31-year-old Ernesto Zaragoza Solis carrying firearms and holding the woman captive. Authorities later arrested 38-year-old Pablo Cerda on conspiracy to kidnap charges.
U.S. District judge Diana Saldana sentenced the group to prison this week for their respective roles in the kidnapping. Saldana sentenced Garza to 37 years and three months in prison. Zaragoza Solis received a 30-year sentence, while Martinez received a 4-year prison sentence. Cerda will spend 16 years in prison. Saldana also sentenced 52-year-old Nicolas Sanchez to 10 years in prison for his role as a Zeta gun smuggler.