DALLAS, Texas (KXAN) — Two Dallas men pleaded guilty Thursday to federal hate crime charges due to their alleged involvement in a plot to use a social media app to target gay men for violent crimes, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Per a release from the Justice Department, Daryl Henry pleaded guilty to a hate crime act and conspiracy to commit hate crimes, kidnapping and carjacking. Pablo Ceniceros-Deleon also pleaded guilty to a hate crime act as well as carjacking and use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
The release stated the two men used the social media dating app Grindr to target and lure gay men to empty apartments around Dallas. The targets were robbed, car jacked, kidnapped and subjected to hate crimes.
“Kidnappings, carjackings, thefts, sexual assaults, and armed, violent attacks against innocent people are heinous crimes, and when perpetrators commit those crimes against victims because of their sexual orientation, the U.S. Department of Justice will continue zealously to seek justice for the victims and to punish the perpetrators to the full extent of the law,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “Prosecuting those who commit such monstrous acts because of victims’ sexual orientation is a priority of the Department of Justice, and we will continue to bring to justice anyone who commits such hateful, violent crimes.”
According to the release, Henry told authorities he and others held the victims in the vacant apartments against their will. Ceniceros-Deleon admitted that he and others would go to ATMs to pull cash from the victims’ accounts. Both suspects admitted that while the victims were held captive, they were subjected to degrading insults and taunts aimed at their sexual orientations.
Ceniceros-Deleon also told police he was the gunman in a Dec. 7 carjacking in 2017. He said Grindr was used in that case as well to lure a suspect who was subsequently held at gunpoint, and forced to drive to an ATM to pull cash.
The federal investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Dallas field office. The Dallas Police Department is conducting their own separate criminal investigation into the case.