Three Bridgeport cab drivers are facing 100 years in prison after a federal jury found them guilty of kidnapping and extorting money from immigrants trying to find their way to Connecticut, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The trio, Lucilo Cabrera, 44, Carlos Hernandez, 53, and Francisco Betancourt, 67, were convicted Friday, March 9, on multiple counts of kidnapping and extortion, confirmed U.S Attorney's Spokesman Tom Carson.
A fourth cab driver, Pascual Rodriguez, 49, had his case severed and he is scheduled for trial in June, Carson said.
In court documents, which offer sketchy details, the three cab drivers were accused of approaching non-English speaking men, women, and children from Central American countries and holding them in their vehicles until the immigrants came up with ransom money for their release.
The prosecution's filing accused the kidnappers of staking out the Port Authority Bus Terminal for victims arriving from a southern border state and boarding buses bound for Connecticut.
In one incident outlined, a woman from Honduras with her two children was traveling to Hartford to stay with her sister when she was approached by Betancourt who told her there were no buses to Connecticut but said he would take her. Instead, he held her until her sister paid him more than $800 before they were released.
The indictment also accuses the men of taking part in four similar abductions of immigrants bound by bus for Hartford.
The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment on the verdict. A sentencing date has not been set.
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