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Seeley woman ‘cruel,' draws 5 years in robbery case

July 18, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

A Seeley woman was sentenced Tuesday to five years in state prison for her role in the robbery of two undocumented immigrants in May.

Two others convicted in the case await sentencing in the coming weeks.

As part of a plea bargain, Diana Cebreros Labunog, 23, pleaded no contest to two counts of felony robbery. She and two others were originally charged with kidnapping for ransom with great bodily injury, assault with great bodily injury and robbery. As part of the plea agreement for all three, charges other than robbery were dropped.

Deputy District Attorney Karla Davis, prosecuting all three defendants, requested Labunog receive the maximum sentence of five years in prison.

"Her role is not minor in this case," Davis said.

"She was cruel," Davis said.

Labunog, Elvia Garcia, 26, of El Centro, and Luis Alberto Cardenas, 34, of Seeley, were arrested on suspicion of beating, robbing and kidnapping two undocumented immigrants near Seeley.


The three allegedly tried to extort money from the immigrants' families. When the families were unable to pay, the immigrants, Santiago Pascual, 27, and Miguel Vargas Aguilar, were allegedly robbed.

Both immigrants are from Mexico. Aguilar, whose exact age was unavailable, is in his early 20s.

Before announcing Labunog's sentence, Imperial County Superior Court Judge Donal Donnelly said while this was Labunog's first offense, a deadly weapon was used on victims who were particularly vulnerable. He said the way the crimes were carried out indicates there was some degree of planning.

Cardenas, who also appeared in court Tuesday, was granted a change in legal counsel and was therefore given a continuation until July 31 for his sentencing.

Garcia, who said she has questions about her plea and its ramifications, will be sentenced Aug. 3 to have more time to confer with legal counsel.

Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.

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