2 men who kidnapped Philadelphia teen, demanded $500k ransom from parents sentenced to 40 years in prison

Two men are set to spend 40 years behind bars for their involvement in the kidnapping of a Philadelphia teen in 2021.  

United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced the sentence for 39-year-old Eduardo Castelan-Prado of Leonia, New Jersey and 32-year-old Jose Ochoa of Moreno Valley, California. 

The duo was sentenced to 40 years in prison with an additional five years of supervised release after being convicted on kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping charges in June. 

Authorities say the pair and a third co-conspirator kidnapped a 17-year-old from the parking lot of a Philadelphia restaurant where he worked on June 14, 2021. 

According to officials, the group took the teen to an apartment complex in New Jersey, where they held him at gunpoint and made ransom demands asking for $500,000 from the teen's parents. 

The Philadelphia Police Department and FBI tracked the phone calls to the location of the apartment complex, locating the teen on June 16, 2021, and arresting the kidnappers. 

The third co-conspirator was fatally shot by federal agents when they were found. The circumstances around the fatal shooting are unclear. 

"Ochoa and Castelan-Prado grabbed a teenage boy off the street to use as a human bargaining chip," said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. "They sought to extort his parents, demanding half a million dollars for their child’s survival and safe return. Fortunately, this despicable ploy for money was disrupted and the victim was recovered by the FBI and our partners."

The case was investigated by several agencies, including the FBI in Philadelphia and Newark and the Philadelphia Police Department.