Featured Photograph: Eliud Montoya served in the Mexican military before coming to the U.S. legally and following all the proper steps to achieve citizenship. Three illegal aliens were indicted in Savannah, Georgia, Thursday in connection with a 2017 murder of a Mexican man -- a naturalized U.S. citizen -- who blew the whistle on a criminal scheme to fraudulently employ other illegal immigrants.
Two of the suspects, brothers Pablo Rangel-Rubio, 49, and Juan Rangel-Rubio, 42, both of Rincon, Georgia, and Higinio Perez-Bravo, 49, of Savannah were charged in a federal indictment unsealed Thursday in the Aug. 19, 2017, slaying of victim Eliud Montoya, 41, who died from multiple gunshots near his home in Garden City, Georgia, according to U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine of the Southern District of Georgia.
Two days before his de facto assassination, Montoya, a naturalized United States citizen employed by a Savannah-area tree service, had filed a formal complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Christine said.
The complaint alleged that Pablo Rangel-Rubio ran a scheme to employ undocumented immigrants at the tree service, profiting from the company while also skimming pay from the workers, Christine said
Four months earlier, Montoya also had reported the scheme to company officials, he said.
Assassination of Whistleblower
Pablo Rangel-Rubio and Juan Rangel-Rubio are charged with Conspiracy to Retaliate Against a Witness; Conspiracy to Kill a Witness; Conspiracy to Conceal, Harbor and Shield Illegal Aliens; and Money Laundering Conspiracy. Pablo Rangel-Rubio and Perez-Bravo are charged with Conspiracy to Commit Murder for Hire. Pablo Rangel-Rubio also is charged with three counts of Money Laundering Transactions Over $10,000.
The investigation began with the Aug. 19, 2017 the assassination of Eliud Montoya, 41, who was found shot to death near his home in Garden City, Ga.. Two days before his death, Montoya had filed a formal complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that Pablo Rangel-Rubio ran a scheme to employ illegal aliens at the tree service, profiting from the company while also skimming pay from the illegal workers. Four months earlier, Montoya also had reported the scheme to company officials.
According to the indictment, authorities allege Pablo Rangel-Rubio paid Perez-Bravo to assist Juan Rangel-Rubio in killing Montoya in retaliation for reporting the conspiracy that is believed to have netted the brothers more than $3.5 million during the approximate 10-year period of the scheme.
“Eliud Montoya was a naturalized citizen of the United States who worked hard and raised a family,” said U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine. “He went to the proper authorities to report a federal crime and for that he was murdered. Our office is committed to ensuring justice for Eliud Montoya, a man killed for doing the right thing, by those intent on protecting their illegal profits.”
“As Homeland Security Investigations has stated repeatedly – HSI equally focuses its worksite enforcement efforts on those who illegally work in the U.S., as well as the employers who knowingly hire them,” said HSI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Nick S. Annan. “This case is an extreme, but clear, example of how far certain criminals seeking to illegally exploit the U.S. labor market will go to protect their ill-gotten gains, and illustrates why worksite enforcement will continue to be a major priority for HSI.”
“The FBI is proud to have assisted our fellow federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in making these important arrests,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Citizens who uphold the law and report criminal activity should never have to be afraid of retaliation from those intent on breaking the law.