The third of a trio of defendants charged by federal prosecutors with kidnapping and killing a San Diego man pleaded guilty Thursday.
Luis Armando Dorantes Rivera Jr. pleaded guilty to hostage taking on Thursday. Co-defendants Wyatt Valencia-Pacheco and Alan Lomeli-Luna entered their guilty pleas earlier this year.
All three are set to be sentenced this fall in San Diego federal court.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says the partners were behind the abduction of Miguel Anthony Rendon, 19, from a Tijuana hotel on May 29, 2020. The perpetrators called Rendon’s family and made demands in exchange for his return.
According to prosecutors, the hostage takers wanted between $2,000 and $3,000 in cash or methamphetamine. Rendon was punched, kicked and pistol-whipped by his attackers, and likely on May 30, shot in the head, according to the defendants’ plea agreements.
His body wasn’t located until earlier this year, according to media reports.
Court documents state that Rendon had been tasked with crossing into the U.S. at the San Ysidro Port of Entry with methamphetamine strapped to his body, but instead stole the drugs. The kidnapping was in retaliation.
“This is a tragic case where a young man paid the ultimate price for getting involved with the wrong people, and his family is forever devastated,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “Drug traffickers don’t hesitate to use extreme violence. We will not hesitate to seek justice for victims.”
– City News Service