- Associated Press - Thursday, May 22, 2014

McALLEN, Texas (AP) - Three South Texas siblings have been sentenced to prison over the September abduction and harboring of about a dozen immigrants.

A federal judge in McAllen late Wednesday sentenced 25-year-old Rafael Cruz to 40 years in prison. His brother, 27-year-old Roberto Cruz, must serve 30 years in prison.

The brothers from Mission in February pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit hostage taking. Prosecutors say Rafael Cruz also sexually assaulted a female immigrant.

Their sister, 30-year-old Jisel Emery Cruz of Penitas (puh-NEE’-t’s), was sentenced to nearly four years after being convicted of harboring immigrants.


Investigators say the Cruz brothers kidnapped about a dozen people - believed to be in the U.S illegally - from one stash house, took them to another home and demanded cash for their release.

One immigrant called 911.