Two Guatemalan men were sentenced by a federal judge Monday, January 14, 2013, to lengthy prison terms for their roles in a hostage-taking conspiracy that resulted in the violent treatment of smuggled aliens held captive in a
Domingo Agustin-Simon, 31, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell to 42 years in federal prison for conspiracy, hostage taking and brandishing a shotgun in connection with hostage taking. Leonardo Rabanales-Casia, 30, was sentenced at the same hearing to 25 years in prison for conspiracy and hostage taking.
The sentences follow the pair's October conviction by a federal jury on charges stemming from a probe led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
"These lengthy sentences serve not only to punish and deter such cruel and inhumane activity but also to protect the public from dangerous individuals that prey upon the vulnerabilities of their victims," said U.S. Attorney John S. Leonardo.
"This case illustrates the ruthlessness and brutality of the human smuggling trade," said Matt Allen, special agent in charge of HSI Arizona. "The smugglers treated the people in the drop house as a mere business commodity, with no qualms about jeopardizing their lives in order to extort personal profit. Investigating these cases is a top priority for HSI, and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to bring those who would choose to exploit people in this despicable way to justice."
Evidence presented at trial showed the defendants were part of an alien that smuggled aliens into the
Four other co-defendants previously pleaded guilty in connection with their roles in the drop house and were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 24 months to eight years.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christine D. Keller and Sean K. Lokey of the U.S. Attorney's Office-District of