EL PASO – Yesterday, a federal jury convicted Fernando Angel Puga, aka Cholo, 36, from Las Cruces, NM, of kidnapping, carjacking resulting in serious bodily injury and transportation of a stolen vehicle in interstate commerce.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, on June 9, 2017, Puga and his co-defendant Sergio Ivan Quinonez-Venegas, 38, from Mexico, approached a man working at a food truck in El Paso. Puga and Quinonez told the victim their car had broken down and asked for a ride. While the victim was giving the defendants a ride to a nearby gas station, Quinonez pulled out a gun and advised the victim that this, “was a kidnapping.” The victim was forced at gunpoint and knifepoint to drive the pair from El Paso to Las Cruces. Once in Las Cruces, the victim was struck and stabbed multiple times by a machete wielded by Puga causing factures to the victim’s skull and arms, and severe puncture wounds and lacerations to his body and hands.
Puga’s sentencing date has not been set. He faces up to life in prison for the kidnapping charge; up to 25 years in prison on the carjacking charge; and up to 10 years in prison for the stolen vehicle charge.
On February 2, 2022, Quinonez pleaded guilty to one count of carjacking resulting in serious bodily injury. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 28, 2022. He faces up to 25 years in prison.
U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff of the Western District of Texas and FBI Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey R. Downey, El Paso Field Office, made the announcement.
The FBI El Paso Field Office, with valuable assistance from FBI Albuquerque; U.S. Border Patrol; Dona Ana County New Mexico Sheriff’s Office; El Paso Police Department; and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice K-9 unit, is investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ian Martinez Hanna and Ellen Denum are prosecuting the case.