Man who targetted immigrants in extortion scheme sentenced

BRIDGEPORT, Connecticut (AP) – A New York City man originally from the Dominican Republic has been sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for his role in a kidnapping and extortion scheme that targetted new immigrants.

Federal prosecutors in Connecticut said 51-year-old Pascual Rodriguez, who was sentenced on Tuesday in United States (US) District Court in Bridgeport, also faces deportation proceedings.

Authorities said Rodriguez, sometimes posing as an immigration officer, approached immigrants from Central Ame-rican countries who didn’t speak English getting off buses at the Port Authority in New York and told them their connecting buses were unavailable.

He then asked for the phone number of a family member already in the US, called that family member and demanded money in exchange for transporting the victim.

Several other people have previously been convicted in the scheme.