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Purported cartel-related kidnapping victim in Texas shot dead in FBI ‘operation’

January 27, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Purported cartel-related kidnapping victim in Texas shot dead in FBI ‘operation’

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Texas kidnapping victim shot dead during FBI operation

A Texas kidnapping victim who authorities say was abducted in a cartel-related home invasion was fatally shot on Thursday as FBI agents raided the Houston residence where he was being held captive.

FBI spokesperson Christina Garza said that multiple individuals, including two children, were inside the residence in Houston at the time the shots rang out resulting in the death of the unarmed victim.

Garza refused to reveal additional details of the incident, citing a continuing investigation.

An FBI agent involved in the incident was put on leave pending an internal probe.

The kidnapping victim 47-year-old Ulises Valladares was shot and killed during an FBI raid on Thursday

According to KPRC, the victim identified by authorities as 47-year-old Ulises Valladares was abducted from a residence in Conroe on Wednesday by two armed individuals who forced their way inside.

The victim’s brother and 12-year-old son were tied up with duct tape.

“[The kidnappers] were demanding money they were owed that nobody knew anything about,” Conroe Police Sergeant Jeff Smith said.

Smith continued that the kidnappers alleged to have connections with the Gulf drug cartel in Mexico, but indicated no evidence was obtained to support that claim.

“There are often claims of a cartel connection to place a fear factor,” Smith said to the Houston Chronicle.

Left to right: Nicholas Chase Cunningham, Sophia Perez Heath, and Jimmy Tony Sanchez

After the victim’s brother received a call demanding ransom, police and the FBI tracked the suspects to a hotel. Three people were apprehended and questioned, allowing police to find the victim in the home.

Among the suspects to be arrested were 38-year-old Jimmy Tony Sanchez, 38, and 42-year-old Nicholas Chase Cunningham. Both are charged with aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery. Officials said charges may be upgraded to capital murder.

Authorities said that Cunningham’s girlfriend, 35-year-old Sophia Perez Heath was questioned by investigators and subsequently charged with aggravated kidnapping.

All three suspects appeared in court Friday. A judge denied Sanchez and Cunningham and bond, while Heath’s bond was set at $1 million.

Additionally, the woman would be required to wear an ankle bracelet if she posts bond.

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