LAREDO, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Field Operations officers, together with FBI special agents and U.S. Marshals at Colombia-Solidarity Bridge today took custody of a man from Pharr, Texas wanted on outstanding federal warrants in connection with a hostage-taking kidnapping conspiracy and failure to appear for jury trial that had been sentenced in absentia to life in prison.
“Border security is a top priority for CBP and today’s apprehension of a man sentenced to life for a violent hostage-taking kidnapping conspiracy perfectly illustrates our commitment to securing our community,” said Port Director Alberto Flores, Laredo Port of Entry. “The collaborative work with our federal law enforcement partners ensured a seamless and secure law enforcement action today.”
The apprehension occurred on Friday, Feb. 2 at the Colombia-Solidarity Bridge. CBP officers, accompanied by U.S. Marshals and FBI special agents, took custody from Mexican immigration officers at mid-bridge of a 21-year-old male U.S. citizen facing possible federal charges in the U.S.
In secondary, CBP officers conducted a fingerprint check and utilizing national law enforcement databases confirmed his identity as Luis Gerardo Betancourt, 21, a United States citizen from Pharr, Texas wanted on an outstanding federal kidnapping warrant issued by FBI San Antonio and a failure to appear for jury trial warrant issued by U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas. Betancourt had been sentenced in absentia to life in prison in connection with the kidnapping, hostage-taking conspiracy case.
CBP officers turned Betancourt over to U.S. Marshals for adjudication of the warrants. Charges and allegations contained in criminal complaints are merely accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
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U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.