U.S. Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Eduardo Castelan-Prado, 39, of Leonia, New Jersey, and Jose Ochoa, 32, of Moreno Valley, California, were both sentenced to 40 years in prison and five years of supervised release by U.S. District Court Judge Harvey Bartle III, for their convictions on kidnapping charges arising from the abduction of a teenage victim in June 2021.
In June of this year, the defendants were convicted after trial on charges of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and kidnapping in connection with their actions to kidnap a 17-year-old in the parking lot of the Olive Garden, 9280 Roosevelt Blvd., as the teen was finishing his shift at the restaurant.
Evidence presented at trial showed that on June 14, 2021, Castelan-Prado, Ochoa and a third co-conspirator transported the victim to a residence in New Jersey, where they held him at gunpoint while making ransom demands of $500,000 to his parents. The FBI and the Philadelphia Police Department were able to determine the victim’s location by tracing the ransom calls, and in the early morning hours of June 16, 2021, an FBI SWAT team executed a search warrant at an apartment complex in Leonia, New Jersey, rescued the victim, and arrested the defendants.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime.
The case was investigated by the FBI Philadelphia and FBI Newark and the Philadelphia Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justin Oshana and Kate Shulman.