FBI: 2 charged in connection with kidnapping-for-ransom plot that targeted immigrants

Authorities initially sought woman with information

By Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist, Van Darden - Managing Editor

SAN ANTONIO - Two men from Laredo have been charged in connection with a kidnapping-for-ransom plot that targeted people suspected of living in the country illegally, the FBI said Monday.

According to the FBI, John Daniel Pavon, 21, and Juan Manuel Ancira, 21, held a group of people against their will at a home in Laredo.

Agents learned of the plot on Feb. 8 after a man from Wichita, Kansas, told authorities he received a call from an unknown man in Laredo claiming to be holding his son against his will. The man demanded $2,000 through MoneyGram or he would not release his son, a federal complaint said.

FBI agents were speaking to a group of people outside of the home where they suspected the individuals were being kept when the agents discovered two men had escaped from the house.

Agents said the two men who ran out of the house and jumped the fence were the Wichita man's son and another kidnapping victim.

The second victim told investigators that the captors asked his family in Baton Rouge for $4,000 before they would release him.

The victims, according to the FBI, were held in captivity for several days and provided with little food.

Pavon and Ancira's arrests come after federal officials sought 22-year-old Brittany Pena in connection with the scheme.

PREVIOUSLY: FBI seeking woman with information on kidnapping-for-ransom plot that targeted immigrants

The FBI did not elaborate on whether Pena is facing charges in connection with the scheme, but more information was promised.

Agencies involved with the investigation include the FBI, the Texas Rangers, Customs and Border Protection in South Texas, the Houston division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Laredo police and Laredo International Airport police.

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