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Brownsville Man Sentenced to Nearly 20 Years for Hostage Taking

3 years 8 months 6 days ago Friday, February 17 2017 Feb 17, 2017 February 17, 2017 2:26 PM February 17, 2017 in News

BROWNSVILLE – A 24-year-old Brownsville man was sentenced to prison for nearly two decades following his conviction of human smuggling and hostage taking.

Reynaldo Lerma-Pichardo pleaded guilty Oct. 25, 2016.

On Wednesday, a U.S. district judge sentenced him to more than 19 years in federal prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release.

Back in November 2015, the Brownsville Police Department received a 911 call leading them to an apartment. At the location, Border Patrol discovered nine people in the country illegally being held against their will. The people reported that they weren’t allowed to leave the apartment unless they could pay additional monies to Lerma-Pichardo.

The Brownsville man ran the human smuggling operation, along with Leticia Lerma-Pichardo, Juan Carlos Meza-Hinojosa and Cynthia Yadira Deantes, out of their homes.

During the investigation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations agents discovered Lerma-Pichardo sexually assaulted one of the women held in the apartment.

Leticia Lerma-Pichardo, 47, a legal permanent resident of Brownsville and Meza-Hinojosa, a 38-year-old Mexican citizen were previously sentenced to 37 and 22 months, respectively. Deantes, 23, is set for sentencing next week. 

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