December 5, 2022


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Donna man sentenced for hostage taking during smuggling attempt

2 min read

McALLEN, Texas – A 23-year-old local resident has been ordered to federal prison after holding two men against their will and demanding ransom, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Miguel Angel Castillo pleaded guilty Jan. 29, 2021.

Today, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced him to 240 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. In handing down the sentence, the court noted this was Castillo’s third time in federal court following two prior convictions for alien smuggling. Further, the instant offense occurred while Castillo was on federal probation.

In August 2019, two men illegally entered the United States in hopes to reunite with their families in New Jersey and California. As part of the smuggling attempt, they stayed at Castillo’s stash house in Donna.

From Aug. 1-15, 2019, Castillo held the men against their will and forced them to call their family members to request ransom monies. Castillo threatened both men with a firearm and said he would kill them if they did not comply.

One victim’s family members paid over $6,000 ransom for his release.

On Aug. 15, 2019, the two men were transported to a motel in Donna. There, they were eventually able to obtain a phone and call for help.

Castillo 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 conducted the investigation with assistance from the Donna Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Mitchell prosecuted the case.

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