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Fresno Indictment Reveals the Evil ‘Coyotes’ Can Inflict on Immigrants



A Mexican national was arraigned Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, in Fresno on federal charges of kidnapping, hostage taking, and transporting illegal immigrants. (Shutterstock)
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Mexican national Cristian Ortiz Coronado, 31, was arraigned Thursday on a six-count indictment charging him with kidnapping, hostage taking, and transporting illegal immigrants, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced in a news release.

Coronado was indicted on Nov. 9 by a federal grand jury in Fresno.

According to court documents, Ortiz Coronado was hired to be a “coyote” and deliver a family to Fresno after they illegally crossed the border from Mexico in August. When Ortiz Coronado picked the family up — including a mother, her 4-year-old daughter, and her 9-year-old son — he locked the doors and wouldn’t let them leave the vehicle.

Demanded a $21,000 Ransom: Prosecutors

Prosecutors say that Ortiz Coronado then demanded an additional $21,000 from relatives before he would release the family in Fresno

When relatives didn’t hand over the ransom and tried to block Ortiz Coronado from driving away, he allegedly rammed a relative’s vehicle and the children’s father. Then he sped off with the mother and son, leaving the 4-year-old behind.

Fresno police tracked down Ortiz Coronado and arrested him on Aug. 25. He remains in jail on a federal marshall hold after Fresno County Judge John F. Vogt denied him bail.

This case resulted from an investigation by the Fresno Police Department, the FBI, and Homeland Security Investigations.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie Stokman and Robert Veneman-Hughes are the prosecutors.

If convicted, Ortiz Coronado faces a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $3 million fine.

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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