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Youth Gets 10 Years for Attacks on Immigrants

Court: Teenager was part of a smuggling ring that held a group hostage and raped and beat some.


A teenager who was involved in a conspiracy to smuggle illegal immigrants from Mexico and then assault them was sentenced Monday to 121 months in federal custody.

Obed Estudillo-Martinez, 17, of Puebla, Mexico, who was ordered to be tried as an adult, pleaded guilty Jan. 22 before his trial began.

Estudillo-Martinez admitted that he and others involved in the ring held a group of illegal immigrants hostage, raped some of the women and beat the men to extort money from relatives.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge George H. King harshly criticized Estudillo-Martinez, and ordered him to serve more than 10 years in prison in part based on the finding that some of the victims were sexually exploited.

Although the sentence was longer than the minimum required under federal guidelines, King decided not to hand down the maximum allowable, saying he believed the teenager showed an "extraordinary acceptance of responsibility."

Estudillo-Martinez had been ordered to release the women in a deserted location, but instead took them to a rural market near El Centro, Calif., and gave them some money and a phone card, said Assistant U.S. Atty. Peter Hernandez.

King said he would recommend to the Bureau of Prisons that Estudillo-Martinez serve as much time as possible at a federal juvenile corrections facility instead of an adult prison.

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