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Third Man Pleads Guilty in Hostage Death in Tijuana, Mexico

 Luis Armando Dorantes Rivera Jr. of Tijuana pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday for his role in the kidnapping of Miguel Anthony Rendon, a U.S. citizen, which resulted in Rendon’s death.  Dorantes is the third defendant to plead guilty in connection with this crime, after Alan Lomeli-Luna and Wyatt Valencia-Pacheco. 

 In his plea agreement, Dorantes admitted that on May 29, 2020, at approximately 11:50 p.m., Dorantes and others forcibly removed the victim, Miguel Anthony Rendon, from his hotel room in Tijuana, Mexico. Dorantes and others punched, kicked, and pistol-whipped Rendon. Once subdued, Dorantes and others placed Rendon in a waiting car and drove away.

Dorantes’ co-conspirators then took Rendon to another hotel in Tijuana, Mexico. There, while Rendon was held and detained, Dorantes’ co-conspirators called Rendon’s family and made ransom demands for Rendon’s release. Specifically, Dorantes’ co-conspirators demanded $2,000 to $3,000 or methamphetamine in exchange for Rendon’s release. On or about May 30, 2020, Dorantes’ co-conspirators intentionally killed Rendon.“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.”  Grossman thanked the prosecution team as well as the investigating FBI agents for their excellent work on this case.

Tijuana is situated within the Mexican state of Baja California, located at the most northern extreme tip of Mexico, the heart of the city is only 5 miles from the Pacific coast. Tijuana sits on the border with the USA, with the city of San Diego on the USA side. The San Diego/Tijuana transborder conglomeration is the fourth biggest in the world with over five million people living close to the border. “Since it’s such a heavily guarded border, Tijuana is incredibly safe to travel to,  Over 50 million travelers pass through this border crossing every year, from both sides. The cityscape is daunting when you arrive, but if you keep your wits about you, you’ll see how safe of a place it is. Most visitors to this region describe the area as just as safe as most American cities. So many Americans regularly travel to Tijuana,” according to Layerculture.com

Dorantes is scheduled to be sentenced October 31, 2022, at 9 a.m. before U.S. District Court Judge William Q. Hayes. Valencia-Pacheco is scheduled to be sentenced on October 3, 2022 at 9 a.m. and Lomeli-Luna is scheduled to be sentenced on September 12, 2022 at 9 a.m., also before Judge Hayes.

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