Two Mexican citizens plead guilty in Las Vegas hostage-taking incident

Two of three Mexican citizens arrested in a Las Vegas hostage-taking incident last November pleaded guilty today to harboring an illegal alien.

The pleas were part of a deal worked out between attorneys for the man and two women and federal prosecutors.

The defendants faced maximum prison terms of five years in what may be one of the first local incidents of illegal immigrants kidnapping others for ransom. The crime frequently occurs in Phoenix and is commonplace in Mexico.

The three were charged with hostage-taking after holding four Mexicans for ransom for four days at an apartment on North Lamb Boulevard.

Victor Mendoz-Aguilar and Ma Hilde Andrade-Padilla, who pleaded Friday, and Nadia "Rico" Rico-Alejandre, who pleaded previously, were present at the apartment Nov. 16-19, where the men, who were delivered to Las Vegas from Phoenix after illegally crossing the border a couple of days earlier, were told to stay away from the windows.

They were fed bread and water.

An arrest was made after the four men escaped.

Families of the victims sent three checks totalling $6,000 to a local check-cashing store. The store owner told police the hostage takers were frequent users of the Western Union money-wiring service.

Contact reporter Doug McMurdo at or 702-224-5512.