Local man sentenced for trying to have ex-wife’s family members killed

Published 12:34 am Thursday, January 20, 2022

A man from Honduras who was living in Port Arthur was sentenced Wednesday in a federal court to several charges, including trying to have two extended family members killed.

Santos Orellana-Hernandez, 47, was sentenced to eight years after pleading guilty in July to 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, according to information from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The court says from January to May of 2020, Orellana-Hernandez tried to have his mother-in-law and brother-in-law killed. Both were residing in Honduras at the time.

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READ MORE: Port Arthur man indicted for murder following fatal December shooting.

The murders, the court said, were intended to be retaliation against his wife, who had filed for divorce in Jefferson County. The man reportedly told her he would “make her cry tears of blood.”

The suspect offered to pay $200,000 in Honduran Lempira ($8,000 U.S. dollars) for proof that the two were killed on or after April 21, 2020 — the date in which his divorce was to be final.

Gustavo Ramires was to provide photo proof of the homicides in order to receive payment. Ramires recorded phone calls between the two.

Following his indictment in May 2020, Orellana-Hernandez and his relative then attempted to have his ex-wife withdraw the murder-for-hire accusation, leading to witness tampering charges.

“This case exemplifies excellent local and federal law enforcement cooperation, and the FBI collaborated with our international partners in Honduras to successfully stop a senseless act of violence by Orellana-Hernandez,” said U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston.

“The Port Arthur Police Department and the FBI did an excellent job!  Crimes of violence, here or abroad, will not be tolerated and all the tools of law enforcement will be utilized to stop violent crime and prosecute the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.”

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Port Arthur Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John B. Ross and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean C. Day.