PHARR (KFXV) — US Marshals are requesting the public’s help in locating a fugitive.
After a five-day trial, Luis Gerardo Betancourt has been convicted on two charges– but is now considered a fugitive, after failing to appear in federal court.
The 20-year-old, Pharr resident is accused of conspiracy to commit hostage taking and conspiracy to transport undocumented immigrants in 2015.
He is now wanted after his failure to appear for trial and presentation of evidence.
The investigation began on December fourth, regarding people being held against their will– forcing their family members to pay a release.
According to testimonies in court, an individual paid an estimated $17,000 for said release.
Some family members even told jurors they received threats such as that the hostages would be killed unless they paid.
Among the victims was an eight-year-old.
All hostages were released on December 8th, 2015.
In court, the jury determined Betancourt’s involvement as a recruiter and transporter of co-conspirators.
Betancourt’s sentencing has been scheduled for June 8th, and could face up to life in federal prison.
Anyone with information on Betancourt’s whereabouts, is asked to call the U.S. Marshals office in MCALLEN at (956) 618-8025.