Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

DOJ seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of New Mexico
Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Thursday, January 25, 2024

Two Sunland Park Men Charged with Hostage Taking

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Jason T. Stevens, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations, El Paso, announced today that a federal grand jury returned a second superseding indictment charging Saul Castorena and his brother Steven Castorena with conspiracy to take a hostage, two counts of hostage taking, conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens, and two counts of harboring an illegal alien. Saul is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and possession of a firearm not registered with the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. Saul, 41, and Steven, 40, both of Sunland Park, remain in custody pending trial, which is currently scheduled for Feb. 26, 2024.

According to the indictment, between Jan. 15 and Jan. 18, 2023, Saul and Steven detained and threatened to kill or injure two people who had entered and remained in the United States in violation of law unless a third party paid a ransom for their release. During this time, Saul, knowing that he had previously been convicted of conspiracy to transport aliens for financial gain and transporting aliens for financial gain, possessed a firearm and ammunition, specifically a shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches, that was not registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.

An indictment is only an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Saul and Steven both face up to life in prison.

Homeland Security Investigations investigated this case with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Randy Castellano and Devon Aragon Martinez are prosecuting the case.

# # #

An official website of the U.S. Department of Justice

Looking for U.S. government information and services?