Group kidnapped FBI employee at gunpoint and took him hostage in South Dakota, feds say

Two men have been convicted of carjacking after officials say they kidnapped an FBI employee at gunpoint and held him hostage.

On May 5, 2022, Juan Francisco Alvarez-Sorto, 25, Deyvin Morales, 29, and Karla Alejandra Lopez-Gutierrez were traveling from Colorado to South Dakota to sell drugs, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Dakota.

However, the three encountered law enforcement and ended up in a high speed chase, officials said.

McClatchy News reached out to attorneys for Morales, Alvarez-Sorto and Lopez-Gutierrez on Jan. 25 but did not immediately hear back.

While hiding out after the chase, the three ”decided to carjack the next vehicle to come along,” prosecutors said. That vehicle happened to be driven by an FBI employee, who stopped when they pulled up behind him, according to officials.

“After the employee pulled his vehicle over, he next realized there was a male at his window pointing a rifle at him and ordering him to get out of the vehicle,” officials said.

Morales and Alvarez-Sorto ordered the FBI employee to get on the ground behind his vehicle while Alvarez-Sorto held a rifle at the back of his head, officials said. Then, the three took his wallet, money, credit cards, car keys, watch, and phones, prosecutors said.

After robbing him, the three ordered the FBI employee into the back seat of his vehicle. Alvarez-Sorto sat in the front passenger seat holding a rifle, Morales sat next to the employee in the rear driver’s seat with two handguns in his waistband. Lopez-Gutierrez got in the driver’s seat and drove away, officials said.

“They told the employee to cooperate and he would be safe, but if he did not, the group would come after his family and that they knew where he lived,” officials said.

They drove to Hermosa and stopped at a gas station. While there, Lopez-Gutierrez went inside and Alvarez-Sorto locked all the doors. Lopez-Gutierrez came back to the vehicle with zip ties and a gas can, according to officials. She turned the car around and drove up to a gas pump.

The employee then saw an opportunity to escape. When Lopez-Gutierrez got out to pump gas, the doors unlocked for a moment. That’s when he fought his way out and ran inside the gas station, officials said.

The three took off in the vehicle and drove to Rapid City, where they ditched the FBI vehicle and found another, officials said. Alvarez-Sorto and Morales were eventually tracked down and arrested in Colorado.

In August 2022, all three were indicted by a grand jury. Lopez-Gutierrez took a plea deal, pleading guilty to charges of kidnapping and use, carry and brandishing of firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

Morales and Alvarez-Sorto went to trial and were found guilty of kidnapping, carjacking, brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, unlawful possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and unlawful reentry after deportation. A sentencing date has not been set.

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