SAN DIEGO – A Tijuana man pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday for the kidnapping of a U.S. citizen who was later killed by his co-conspirators in Mexico, prosecutors said.
Luis Armando Dorantes Rivera Jr., 26, was charged with hostage-taking and faces life in prison, the Office of the United States Attorney Southern District of California stated in a release. Dorantes was the third defendant to plead guilty in connection with the crime, along with Alan Lomeli-Luna and Wyatt Valencia-Pacheco.
On May 29, 2020, Dorantes and others kidnapped the victim, Miguel Anthony Rendon, from his Tijuana hotel room around 11:50 p.m., according to the defendant’s plea agreement. Rendon was punched, kicked and pistol-whipped by the group and then taken to another hotel in Tijuana, prosecutors said.
Dorantes’ co-conspirators made ransom demands to Rendon’s family for his release, per the attorney’s office. The group demanded $2,000 to $3,000 or methamphetamine in exchange for Rendon’s release.
Officials confirmed Dorantes’s co-conspirators intentionally killed Rendon on or about May 30, 2020.
“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,” U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman said. “Drug traffickers don’t hesitate to use extreme violence. We will not hesitate to seek justice for victims.”
Dorantes’ sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 31, at 9 a.m., prosecutors said. Valencia-Pacheco and Lomeli-Luna are scheduled for Oct. 3, at 9 a.m., and Sept. 12, at 9 a.m., respectively.