News

Brothers Plead Guilty to Holding 3 Immigrants Hostage in California

Brothers Plead Guilty to Holding 3 Immigrants Hostage in California

Police sirens flash in a file photo. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

City News Service

City News Service

4/24/2024

Updated: 4/24/2024

SAN DIEGO—Two brothers who kidnapped a trio of immigrants and held them for ransom at an Escondido home have pleaded guilty to federal charges, prosecutors said Tuesday.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Virves Pablo-Francisco, 22, and Nicolas Pablo-Francisco, 20, held a 16-year-old boy from Afghanistan, as well as a 41-year-old father and 19-year-old son from Ecuador, hostage and demanded thousands of dollars from their families.
According to court documents, the siblings demanded between $4,000 and $10,000 for each person’s release.
Prosecutors say the abductions came to light on June 13 of last year, when the 16-year-old boy’s family in the United States was contacted by his kidnappers.
The family reached out to law enforcement and according to a probable cause statement filed in federal court last year, investigators obtained cell phone records for a phone the kidnappers used to call the family.
Records showed Nicolas Pablo-Francisco was the phone’s user, with a listed address in Escondido, according to the statement. Virves Pablo-Francisco was listed as the billing party for the account.
On June 14, agents searched the home listed on the phone’s account and found all three kidnapping victims, court documents state. Nicolas Pablo-Francisco was arrested at the home, while Virves Pablo-Francisco was arrested at a later time.
Virves Pablo-Francisco pleaded guilty on Tuesday, while his brother pleaded guilty in February.
Copy
facebooktwitterlinkedintelegram
California Insider
Sign up here for our email newsletter!
©2024 California Insider All Rights Reserved. California Insider is a part of Epoch Media Group.