Additional individuals sentenced for carjacking and kidnapping FBI employee in South Dakota

Two individuals involved in the carjacking and kidnapping of an FBI employee in South Dakota in 2022 have recently received substantial prison sentences. This concludes the legal proceedings for the trio responsible for the crime.

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

Juan Alvarez-Sorto, aged 25, received a 37-year sentence earlier this month as the third person involved in the crime.

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

Alvarez-Sorto and Morales maintained their innocence throughout the trial, but they were found guilty of kidnapping, carjacking, and other offenses in January. Additionally, Alvarez-Sorto was also convicted of illegally reentering the United States after being deported to El Salvador. On the other hand, Lopez-Gutierrez admitted his involvement and pleaded guilty in August 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, frustration evident in his voice. “You already had everything that belonged to me.”

Two individuals who were involved in a carjacking and kidnapping case in South Dakota, which also included an FBI employee, have been handed down significant prison sentences.

According to prosecutors, on May 5, 2022, the three attackers departed from Greeley, Colorado, embarking on a drug trafficking journey to South Dakota in a Ford Expedition. Running low on fuel at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Morales informed the others that they had to procure a new vehicle, as testified by Lopez-Gutierrez in January.

During a pit stop in Hermosa, South Dakota, the group made a purchase of gas and zip ties. It was at this moment that the victim seized the opportunity to escape. Recounting the incident during the hearing, he described how he mustered the strength to crawl over Morales and fought his way out of the car. Morales, in an attempt to prevent the escape, grabbed hold of the victim’s jacket, causing him to stumble. Despite this setback, the victim quickly regained his footing and sprinted away, likening his desperate flight to that of a headless chicken.

Morales and Alvarez-Sorto were apprehended in Greeley one week later, while Lopez-Gutierrez was taken into custody in Loveland, Colorado in August 2022.

Morales’ attorney, Jonathan McCoy, pleaded with the judge to give a sentence of 20-25 years for his client. According to McCoy, Morales was granted asylum in 2017 due to a serious threat on his life by a gang in Guatemala.

According to McCoy, deportation in Guatemala is equivalent to a death sentence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Jehangiri expressed his disappointment, stating that Morales had betrayed the trust and goodwill of our nation by committing this crime.

Jehangiri expressed deep disappointment, saying, “It is truly disgraceful. Seeking asylum was meant to escape gang activity, not to engage in it.”

Lopez-Gutierrez’s attorney advocated for a lenient sentence, highlighting her status as a mother of three and her willingness to take responsibility for her actions.

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