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Honduran national sentenced to 8 years for murder-for-hire plot to kill wife's mother, brother

Investigators said the man wanted to get revenge on his soon-to-be ex-wife who wanted to divorce him.

PORT ARTHUR, Texas — A Honduran national will be spending the next eight years in federal prison after he pled guilty to a murder-for-hire plot to kill his mother-in-law and brother-in-law.

Santos Orellana-Hernandez, 47, was living in Port Arthur when he solicited the murder of two extended family members residing in Honduras.

Orellana-Hernandez reached out to Gustavo Ramires, a person located in Honduras, to kill Orellana-Hernandez’s mother-in-law, and brother-in-law, according to court documents.

Orellana-Hernandez offered to pay Ramires $200,000 in Honduran Lempira, which is valued at approximately $8,000 in US currency.

Investigators said Orellana-Hernandez wanted to get revenge on his soon-to-be ex-wife who wanted to divorce him in Jefferson County. Orellana-Hernandez reportedly told his wife that he would make her “cry tears of blood,” according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Texas.

Orellana-Hernandez told Ramires to kill the two family members on or after April 21, 2020, which was the date when the divorce was to become final.

Ramires later placed a recorded phone call to Orellana-Hernandez and the two discussed the murder-for-hire plot using code language such as “planting the corn.” Ramires told investigators that “planting the corn” meant burying victims’ bodies.

Orellana-Hernandez was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 20, 2020, and taken into custody. He conspired with his brother to intimidate his wife into making her withdraw the murder-for-hire accusation while being behind bars in early June 2020.

On November 4, 2020, the grand jury returned a superseding indictment that added the witness tampering charges. 

Orellana-Hernandez pleaded guilty on July 23, 2021, to the use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire, tampering with a witness by intimidation and threats, and conspiracy to commit witness tampering.

Orellana-Hernandez was sentenced to 100 months in federal prison on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2022 by U.S. District Judge Thad Heartfield.

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This is a developing story. We will update with more if and when we receive more confirmed information.

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