Man Who Kidnapped FBI Employee at Gunpoint Sentenced to 57 Years in Prison

By Steve Neavling

One of two men convicted of carjacking an FBI employee at gunpoint and kidnapping him after they fled police in South Dakota in May 2022 was sentenced to 57 years in prison on Friday. 

Juan Alvarez-Sorto, 25, will be deported to El Salvador after he serves his sentence, KOTA reports

A jury convicted Alvarez-Sorto and Deyvin Morales, of Guatemala, in January of kidnapping, carjacking, brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, unlawful possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and unlawful reentry after deportation. 

Morales has not yet been sentenced. 

The two men, along with Karla Alejandra Lopez-Gutierrez, traveled from Colorado to southwestern South Dakota to distribute meth, fentanyl and heroin when local police tried to pull them over. 

The trio sped away and eluded law enforcement before hiding in a remote area near Red Shirt. After the chase, the group hid out and decided to “carjack the next vehicle to come along,” prosecutors said in a news release.

That vehicle was an FBI-issued car driven by Curt Lauinger, a victim specialist for the bureau. 

Lauinger pulled over along the side of the street when the car driven by the defendants pulled out behind him. He thought he was being pulled over by police. 

But instead, Alvarez was at the side of his car, pointing a rifle at him. 

The trio hopped into the FBI vehicle while Lauinger sat in the front seat. While at a gas station, the victim ran out of the car and into the store. 

The trio drove to Rapid City, where they abandoned the FBI vehicle. 

They were later arrested at a house in Colorado, where law enforcement found firearms, including the rifle used in the carjacking. 

Lopez-Gutierrez took a plea deal.

Lauinger and his wife Danielle Lauinger spoke during sentencing. 

 “The evil glint in your eyes as you looked at me and threatened me and my family will haunt me forever,” Danielle Lauinger said. 

U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier said she imposed a stiff sentence because of what the victim went through.

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