Two more sentenced in the carjacking and kidnapping of an FBI employee in South Dakota

Two individuals who were part of a group of three that carjacked and abducted an FBI employee in South Dakota in 2022 have recently been handed down substantial prison terms.

Deyvin Morales, aged 29, received a 47-year prison sentence on Friday, as reported by the Rapid City Journal. Karla Lopez-Gutierrez, also 29, was sentenced to over 26 years in prison during the same hearing.

Juan Alvarez-Sorto, aged 25, was sentenced to 37 years earlier this month, making him the third person involved in the crime.

A man was sentenced to 37 years in prison for carjacking and kidnapping an FBI employee in South Dakota.

Alvarez-Sorto and Morales had maintained their innocence against charges of kidnapping, carjacking, and other crimes, but they were found guilty in January. Additionally, Alvarez-Sorto was convicted of unlawfully entering the U.S. after being deported to El Salvador, his home country. In August, Lopez-Gutierrez pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting kidnapping, as well as a weapons charge.

During the hearing on Friday, the victim expressed how the assailants had shown him no mercy before he managed to escape.

“Why did you have to kidnap me?” he asked. “You already had everything of mine.”

Two individuals involved in the carjacking and kidnapping case of an FBI employee in South Dakota have received substantial prison sentences.

According to prosecutors, on May 5, 2022, the three attackers departed Greeley, Colorado, embarking on a drug trafficking journey to South Dakota in a Ford Expedition. With their fuel running dangerously low near the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Morales informed the others that they had to acquire a different vehicle, as testified by Lopez-Gutierrez in January.

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During the stop in Hermosa, South Dakota, the victim seized the opportunity to escape when the group halted to purchase gas and zip ties. Recounting the incident in court, he described how he maneuvered over Morales and fought his way out of the car, using sheer determination. As he made his escape, Morales desperately clutched onto his jacket, causing him to stumble briefly. However, the victim quickly regained his footing and sprinted away, likening his flight to that of a startled chicken.

Morales and Alvarez-Sorto were apprehended in Greeley a week later. Lopez-Gutierrez, on the other hand, was taken into custody in Loveland, Colorado in August 2022.

Morales’ attorney, Jonathan McCoy, appealed to the judge for a sentence ranging from 20 to 25 years. He emphasized that Morales had been granted asylum in 2017 due to the threat of a gang in Guatemala who sought to end his life.

“Deportation condemns him to death in Guatemala,” McCoy emphasized.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Jehangiri, Morales has betrayed the trust and goodwill of our nation by engaging in this criminal act.

Jehangiri expressed his strong disapproval, stating, “It is truly disgraceful. Seeking asylum was meant to escape gang activity, yet now you are actively participating in it.”

Lopez-Gutierrez’s attorney also requested a compassionate sentence, highlighting her status as a mother of three and her willingness to accept accountability for her actions.

With tears streaming down her face, Lopez-Gutierrez expressed deep remorse during the hearing. “I am truly sorry,” she said, her voice filled with genuine sorrow. She went on to apologize to him and his family, acknowledging the immense pain she had caused.

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