Men from California and Texas Plead Guilty to Federal Kidnapping Charge

ALBUQUERQUE—Brandon Lawrence Jones, 35, of San Diego, California, and Jesus Manuel Gallegos, 41, of El Paso, Texas, have entered guilty pleas to an indictment charging them with a federal kidnapping charge. Jones entered his guilty plea on December 28, 2012, and Gallegos entered his guilty plea on January 3, 2013. Both guilty pleas were entered without the benefit of plea agreements. Court records reflect that, on the night of November 5, 2011, Jones and Gallegos carjacked and kidnapped a man as he was leaving a basketball game in El Paso, Texas.

Using an air pistol that resembled a semi-automatic pistol, Jones forced the victim to get into the passenger seat of the victim’s vehicle. Gallegos later joined Jones and the victim in the vehicle. After directing the victim to identify banks at which the victim maintained accounts, Jones took bank cards out of the victim’s wallet; forced the victim to reveal the PINs for his bank accounts; and withdrew cash from the victim’s bank accounts. During this time, Jones and Gallegos repeatedly struck the victim in the face and body with their fists.

Jones and Gallegos drove the vehicle from El Paso to Clines Corner, New Mexico. During one stop, they tied the victim’s hands and feet with duct tape but later released him from the restraints when they realized that it might be hard to explain a restrained passenger as they crossed through the United States Border Patrol checkpoint at Hatch, New Mexico. During a stop in Albuquerque, Jones and Gallegos continued to use the victim’s bank card to withdraw money from the victim’s bank accounts. When they arrived at Clines Corner in the early morning of November 6, 2011, Jones and Gallegos parked the vehicle at a truck stop and fell asleep.

After ensuring his kidnappers were asleep, the victim escaped from the vehicle and sought help from restaurant employees at the Clines Corner truck stop, who called 911 and helped the victim contact family members in El Paso. Shortly afterward, officers of the New Mexico State Police and Torrance County Sheriff’s Office arrested Jones and Gallegos, who were still asleep in the victim’s vehicle. When they were arrested, Jones was in possession of a wallet containing the victim’s driver’s license, and Gallegos was in possession of one of the victim’s bank cards. In the vehicle, the officers found an air pistol, which looked like a semi-automatic pistol with a laser site; ATM receipts; and wads of used duct tape.

Jones and Gallegos were arrested on federal charges on November7, 2011, and have been in federal custody since that time. At their sentencing hearings, which have yet to be scheduled, Jones and Gallegos each face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The case was investigated by the Albuquerque Division of the FBI and the New Mexico State Police. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Charles L Barth and William Pflugrath and Special Assistant United States Attorney Adam Rowley.

Published on: 2013-01-08

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