Border Patrol agent who killed 4 sex workers in Texas was trying to 'clean up the streets'

Manuela Cardiga
Dec 07, 2018
02:55 A.M.

A U.S. Border Patrol Agent has been indicted for the murder of 4 sex workers in Laredo, Texas.


Juan David Ortiz,35, a U.S. Border Patrol agent from Laredo, Texas, has been charged with four counts of capital murder, revealed CBS News, on December 5, 2018.

Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz revealed that he will be seeking the death penalty if Ortiz is found guilty.

"The scheme in this case, from Ortiz's own words, was to clean up the streets of Laredo by targeting this community of individuals who he perceived to be disposable, that no one would miss and that he did not give value to."


Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz, CBS News, December 5, 2018.


In September 2018, Laredo was shaken by a series of murders of known sex workers. The first victim, Melissa Ramirez, 29, was killed on September 3, followed by 42-year-old Claudine Luera on September 13.

On September 14, the killer struck again. He picked up Erika Pena in his truck at a gas station, but the woman found his behavior odd and tried to get out of the truck. She later told investigators that the killer had grabbed her shirt and pointed a gun at her, but she pulled it off and escaped. Pena ran to a State Trooper who was refueling his vehicle, and reported her attack.


A U.S. Border Patrol agent, and Navy veteran, Ortiz was married, and seemed to live a normal life with his wife and two children.


While Pena ran for help, the killer got away and would slay two more victims before he was caught: Guiselda Alicia Cantu, 35, and Janelle Ortiz, a 28-year-old transgender woman whose birth name was Humberto Ortiz. Meanwhile, Pena helped the Police track down her attacker to a hotel parking garage where he was arrested.

“I believe that if Erika Pena would not have escaped that day that there would be more victims right now in this case.”

Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz



The suspect was identified as Juan David Ortiz,35, a U.S. Border Patrol agent, and Navy veteran. Ortiz was married, and seemed to live a normal life with his wife and two children. Nothing indicated that underneath the facade of a steady, law-abiding family man lurked a serial killer.

“By day, he was a family man. (...) At nighttime, he was somebody else — hunting the streets ... for this community of people and arbitrarily deciding who he was going to kill next.”

Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz



Ortiz told investigators that law enforcement didn’t do enough to curb prostitution and that by killing the women he was doing the city “a service.” Ortiz shot his four victims, but one of the women succumbed to blunt force trauma rather than her gunshot wound.

Ortiz has been charged with four counts of murder, aggravated assault, and unlawful restraint. He is being held in Webb County jail on a $2.5 million bond since his September 15 arrest.

A court date has not yet been set for Ortiz's trial.



After 40 years, Police arrested Joseph James DeAngelo, for the February 2, 1978 murders of Brian and Katie Maggiore. The newlyweds had been shot and killed while out walking their dog in Rancho Cordova, a Sacramento suburb.

DeAngelo, 72, a former California policeman, appeared in court handcuffed to a wheelchair and did not enter a plea to the charges leveled against him.

DeAngelo is a suspect in 10 other murders committed in central, northern and southern California between 1976 and 1986, a killing spree that earned him the sobriquet, "Golden State Killer."

DNA evidence has also linked the "Golden State Killer" to more than 50 rapes and 150 burglaries. Investigators found DeAngelo by searching the genealogy database and comparing it to DNA left at the crime scenes.

DeAngelo's decade-long crime spree ended in 1986 with the rape and murder of an 18-year-old girl, and he has been inactive ever since.

Like Juan David Ortiz, DeAngelo served in the navy, before obtaining a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Sacramento State and joining the Police.

In a related story, one of the victims of a border patrol serial killer, Melissa Ramirez, had a premonition that she would be murdered two weeks before she died.

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