HOUSTON – A woman who set up her family member to be kidnapped and held for ransom has been sentenced to serve 45 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Delia Gualdina Velasquez, 50, was found guilty of aggravated kidnapping Monday by a Montgomery County jury.
On Jan. 4, 2018, Velasquez’s husband and another man knocked on 47-year-old Ulises Valladares’ door, and when he answered, the two men pushed their way into the home and bound Valladares and his son with duct tape, according to prosecutors. The men then ransacked the home, stole several electronics, and kidnapped Valladares, prosecutors said. A few hours later, Valladares’ brother received a call from a person claiming to be a member of the Gulf Cartel and demanded $20,000, according to the release.
During the investigation, detectives from the Conroe Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation were able to identify one of the suspects as the spouse of Velasquez, according to the release. The investigation also revealed that Velasquez is the cousin of Valladares, according to prosecutors.
Officers found the intruders in Webster and also learned that Valladares was being held at a home in Harris County, prosecutors said.
In the process of attempting to rescue the victim, an FBI agent fatally shot Valladares, believing he was an armed perpetrator, according to prosecutors.
With the suspects in custody, detectives said they had reason to believe Velasquez was involved in the aggravated kidnapping but did not have enough evidence to prosecute her, according to prosecutors. A year later, Valasquez began cooperating with officials and detectives were able to gather additional information, such as geolocation information and cellphone data, which provides proof that she was involved in this case, according to prosecutors.
Velasquez was arrested and confessed to another inmate that she was involved in the aggravated robbery while in the Montgomery County Jail, according to prosecutors. Velasquez also told the inmate that she was upset with a family member over a deal for a truck and that she asked her husband to scare the family member, according to the release.
“Because of a 13-year-old grudge, this defendant selfishly acted against her own family,” said Assist. District Attorney Donna Hansen. “The result of those selfish actions is that now a 12-year-old boy has lost his father forever. This selfishness is beyond offensive—it’s inexcusable, unacceptable, and intolerable, and the lengthy prison sentence delivered by the jury was absolutely appropriate. We hope that the sentence will bring some measure of peace to the grieving members of the family members so needlessly wronged.”