Paulino Rios Ledesma, 41, of Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico, was sentenced to 57 years in federal prison Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge Frank R. Zapata. On April 15, 2010, a federal jury found Rios-Ledesma guilty for his role in holding 31 people hostage at a drop house in Tucson. Following a four-day trial, the jury found Rios-Ledesma guilty on 10 criminal counts.
On March 31, 2009, Tucson Police Department officers responded to a report that 30 to 40 illegal aliens were being held hostage at a suspected drop house by individuals who had an AK-47 assault rifle. Police determined that five of these individuals were responsible for holding the aliens hostage including Rios-Ledesma, Victor Sauceda-Parra, Jaime Figueroa-Lopez, Martin Chavarrin- Serrano, and Jesus Manuel Quinones-Camacho. Individuals inside the drop house stated they had been at the residence between four and 15 days, and when they arrived , their property, identification and shoes were taken from them by the “coyotes.” Upon further investigation, agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement recovered several items in the house, including a MAK-90 assault rifle and other high-powered weapons and ammunition. The defendants used these weapons to threaten aliens who complained about the increased smuggling fees.