A Mexican woman has been sent to prison for her role in the kidnapping of two U.S. citizens in Texas who were then taken to Mexico for ransom. Five cartel gunmen ambushed their victims outside of a restaurant in Laredo, Texas, during the kidnapping. The woman had been providing information on the victims.
The woman, identified in court documents as 31-year-old Sarahi Lopez Espinoza from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, will spend close to 13 years in prison for her role in the international ransom kidnapping. Lopez Espinoza pleaded guilty to federal hostage-taking charges last year and has been in custody since Mexican authorities arrested her in March 2015 and extradited her in June 2016, the U.S. Attorney’s Office revealed.
The charges against Lopez Espinoza stem from the July 16, 2006, kidnapping of two U.S. citizens attending a wedding reception at a restaurant in Laredo, Texas. Court documents revealed that as the men left the gathering, five cartel gunmen answering to a “comandante” surrounded the victims and forced them at gunpoint into their vehicle. The gunmen demanded $20,000 and the victims’ vehicles as ransom for two days before releasing them. The gunmen reportedly kidnapped the wrong marks.
Authorities were able to learn that Lopez Espinoza and her sister, 42-year-old Christina Rodriguez, an employee at the restaurant, were relaying the information to the cartel. Rodriguez is serving a 14-year-prison sentence.
While court documents do not identify the cartel, the Mexican city of Nuevo Laredo and Laredo, Texas, have been historically under the control of Los Zetas. The criminal organization is considered to be one of the most violent in Mexico.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.
Brandon Darby is managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and Stephen K. Bannon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.