LOS ANGELES — A man arrested in the Imperial Valley and convicted of holding undocumented immigrants hostage in the Los Angeles area was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison Monday.
Leonel Estudillo-Martinez pleaded guilty to a federal hostage-taking charge before U.S. District Judge George H. King on Jan. 25
Estudillo-Martinez, 17, stood trial as an adult due to the severity of the crimes.
The arrest came after combined efforts of the U.S. Border Patrol El Centro sector anti-smuggling unit, Los Angeles District's anti-smuggling unit and the Los Angeles Police Department.
This investigation involved the beating and rapes of smuggled immigrants in the Los Angeles area to compel family members to pay for their smuggling fees.
U.S. Border Patrol agents from the El Centro station originally arrested Estudillo-Martinez in Calipatria while he was attempting to transport a load of undocumented immigrants.