Two men have been sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping a West Texas man who was later found shot with his hands chopped off in Juarez, Mexico.
Prosecutors say a Mexican drug cartel hired Cesar Obregon-Reyes and Rafael Vega to kidnap a man from his Horizon City home in September over a botched drug deal.
Sergio Saucedo was pulled out of his home while his family watched. So did children riding in a school bus passing by. Saucedo was found dead days later on an unpaved road in Juarez, with his severed hands sitting on his chest.
Obregon-Reyes, 20, was sentenced Friday in El Paso federal court to two life sentences on several counts of kidnapping and other charges. Vega, 27, got four life sentences a day before.
Federal Judge David Briones alluded to the close relationship between Vega and Obregon-Reyes during Friday’s sentencing.
“I think (Obregon-Reyes) followed (Vega) everywhere. He followed him then, he followed him in the trial and now he’ll follow him to prison for the rest of his life,” judge Briones said. “It shouldn’t be like that, but it is and now he’s gonna pay.”
Before the sentence came down, Obregon-Reyes, like Vega, claimed he was innocent.
“I never participated in anything with Sergio Saucedo, I never saw him or heard (from) him. God knows that and I know it. That’s why went to trial. If not, I would have taken the 88 months,” Obregon-Reyes said, his voice quivering.
Those 88 months were offered in a plea deal before the trial. Obregon-Reyes’s attorney, Richard Esper, told ABC-7 he will appeal the conviction.
The previous day, Vega was more defiant during his sentencing.
“Everything makes clear that I’m innocent, so I’m not sorry because I didn’t do anything wrong,” he said.
Initially, Judge Briones had two words for Vega, simply saying “Amazing … Typical.”
Before the sentence came down the judge also said, “Maybe I should recommend mental heath treatment also. You’re not very smart, otherwise you wouldn’t be standing there.”