Man sentenced to 21 years in federal prison after leaving woman dead during smuggling attempt
A non-U.S. citizen illegally residing in Mission has been sent to prison for conspiracy to commit hostage taking which resulted in death, according to U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Nelson Bahena-Garcia pleaded guilty on Nov. 2, 2021 and admitted that the victim died during the smuggling incident.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Rainey ordered Bahena-Garcia to serve 252 months in federal prison.
At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence about how he operated an alien stash house using threats and intimidation. He refused to allow the victim to be released for medical care during the smuggling attempt, according to the report.
The investigation began after the victim's fiance' called authorities and informed them he had been unable to make payment for her release.
On May 28, 2018 authorities found the victim's body on a rural county road in Victoria County. She had been stripped nude and had what appeared to be trauma inflicted upon her body. The investigation revealed she had collapsed during the smuggling attempt and had to be carried.
Bahena-Garcia gave a driver the instructions to leave her behind in the brush to die.
At the time of his plea, Bahena-Gacia admitted his driver had abandoned her on the side of the highway.
Bahena-Garcia has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Protection and the Victoria County Sheriff’ Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Patti Booth prosecuted the case.