CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Today, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad Jr sentenced Luis Analberto Pineda-Anchecta, 38, a Honduran national, to 240 months in prison and five years of supervised release on kidnapping charges, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
Ronnie Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Charlotte, and Chief Johnny Jennings of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD), join U.S. Attorney Murray in making today’s announcement.
According to filed court documents, evidence presented at Pineda-Anchecta’s trial and today’s sentencing hearing, on or about May 15, 2019, CMPD officers arrested Pineda-Anchecta on several state charges, including Assault on a Female and Communicating Threats against his ex-girlfriend, identified in court documents as F.M. Two days following his arrest, Pineda-Anchecta was released from state custody on bond. As trial evidence established, in the evening of May 21, 2019, F.M. was approached by two masked men as she was walking to her vehicle parked at her apartment complex in Charlotte. The victim recognized one of the masked men as Pineda-Anchecta, who grabbed the victim by the arm, stuffed a cloth in her mouth, and wrapped a cord or rope around her head so the cloth would stay in place. Pineda-Anchecta and the other masked man forced F.M. against her will into the passenger seat of a vehicle, and Pineda-Anchecta told F.M. “I love you and I’m going to kill you.” According to trial evidence, the other masked individual did not accompany Pineda-Anchecta and F.M. in the vehicle.
Pineda-Anchecta then drove his vehicle on Lancaster Highway. Court records show that that while Pineda-Anchecta was driving, he maintained a tight grip on the plastic rope tied around the victim’s face. After traveling a short while on Lancaster Highway, Pineda-Anchecta parked his vehicle on the side of the road near a wooded area and turned off the vehicle’s engine. Pineda-Anchecta maintained his grip on the plastic rope around F.M.’s face and pulled the victim out of the car. He then dragged the victim to wooded area off of Lancaster Highway with which he was familiar, as the defendant had gone fishing there on previous occasions.
Following a struggle between Pineda-Anchecta and F.M., the victim was able to escape and run into the middle of the highway and was assisted by motorists who stopped to offer help. According to court records, the victim identified Pineda-Anchecta as the person who had assaulted her. Pineda-Anchecta left the scene on foot. After obtaining a search warrant, CMPD officers searched Pineda-Anchecta’s vehicle, from which they recovered a spool of plastic rope similar to the rope wrapped around the victim’s face during the course of the kidnapping. Law enforcement also located the victim’s phone in Pineda-Anchecta’s vehicle. On June 23, 2020, a federal jury convicted Pineda-Anchecta of kidnapping following a two-day trial.
In determining today’s sentence, Judge Conrad noted that this incident was “a series of violent acts between the defendant and victim that escalated over time and culminated into this offense.” Judge Conrad enhanced the sentence after noting that “this was not a mere kidnapping, but that the defendant intended to kill the victim.”
Pineda-Anchecta is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. The defendant will also be subject to deportation proceedings upon the completion of his federal sentence. Pineda-Anchecta was previously convicted of illegal reentry by a deported alien and was sentenced to seven months in prison.
In making today’s announcement U.S. Attorney Murray commended ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations and CMPD for their investigation of this case. He also thanked ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations for their assistance.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kenneth Smith and Regina Pack, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, prosecuted the case.