MCALLEN, TX—Domingo Lara III, 26, of Mission, Texas, has been sentenced to 235 months in federal prison for taking a McAllen businessman hostage. Once he is released from prison, he will also serve a five-year term of supervised release, and he was ordered to pay restitution to the victim in the amount of $101,000.
After hearing the arguments from both the government and defense counsel in federal court , U.S. District Judge Randy Crane handed down the 235-month prison term for seizing, detaining and threatening to kill, injure, and continuing to detain a McAllen businessman in order to compel his family to pay a sum of money as an explicit condition for his release. The court took into account the extent of Lara’s involvement in the hostage taking, noting that Lara had been responsible for collecting the ransom. Lara pled guilty on Jan. 5, 2010.
On Jan. 28, 2008, a McAllen businessman was abducted, detained at gunpoint, and subsequently taken to a trailer home in Mission. Shortly thereafter, co-defendant Gilberto Ivan Gonzalez-Pena, 26, called the victim’s wife and demanded $125,000 in exchange for the release of the victim or else they were going to kill him. The victim’s family paid the ransom on Jan. 30, 2008. Once the ransom was paid, the businessman was released with minor injuries.
Gonzalez-Pena along with two others have also pleaded guilty and have already been sentenced for their roles in the kidnapping. Gonzalez-Pena received 13 years, while Jose Alfredo Gonzalez, 37, and Uvaldo Quintero, 27, were sentenced to 14 years and six years, respectively. Gonzalez-Pena had been one of the individuals who actually abducted the victim at gunpoint and Gonzalez was the one making the phone calls demanding the ransom. Quintero was responsible for releasing the victim once the ransom was paid.
This investigation leading to the charges against Lara and others was conducted by the FBI with the assistance of the McAllen Police Department and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Leo J. Leo III and Casey MacDonald.