Photo: Dario Leon/AFP / Getty Images
A federal grand jury in Los Angeles charged six people to direct a kidnappers network based in Mexico who held nine people and demanded ransom for their release but killed six of the victims.
In a statement the Department of Justice (DOJ) explained that the grand jury issued the federal indictment on Tuesday against the group led by Germán García Yera Hernández, 37 years old.
García Yera and five other suspects were charged with at least five counts including extortion and conspiracy to take hostages that culminated in the death of the victim.
The other five defendants are Gilberto Omar Ávila López, alias “Luis Enrique Ávila Moreno”, 27 years old; Aylín Estrada Reyes, 24; Joel Eduardo Mascorro Delgado, 22; Victoria Camila Espinoza Ballardo, 22, and Oscar Bautista Valencia, 30 years old.
All the defendants are from Mexican nationality, the DOJ said.
García Yera, Ávila López, and Espinoza Ballardo each face an additional charge of hostage-taking that resulted in the death of the victim.
The indictment alleges that from January to April 2020, the Tijuana, Mexico-based criminal group lured victims to meetings in which they were kidnapped at gunpoint, tied up, and sometimes “brutally beaten.”
Later, family members in the United States were asked for a ransom.
In three cases the victims had no relatives who could pay the ransom, for which they were killed, the prosecution said.
Others three kidnapped were killed to allegedly protect the crime even though his relatives had paid the ransom, according to the DOJ statement.
For example, a man who was designated “victim D” was abducted on March 27, 2020. A day later the victim’s son paid the ransom of $ 25,000, despite which the man was killed that same day.
Two days later, his alleged killers viciously discussed how to dispense with his vehicle, the DOJ described.
In another case, a Los Angeles County resident identified as “victim E” was abducted on April 11, 2020 while visiting a relative in Tijuana. The victim was forced to call her mother, tell her she was in trouble, and ask her to pay $ 25,000 for her release.
The victim’s mother struggled unsuccessfully to obtain the ransom money, so she agreed to pay the hijackers $ 1,000 and surrender the victim’s vehicle.
On April 13, the victim’s mother met with a debt collector and delivered the agreed ransom, but the young woman was killed that same day.
Of the six people killed, three were US citizens, including victims D and E, the DOJ detailed.
The six defendants are detained in Mexico, where they face additional charges, NBC reported. No date was given for his extradition to the United States.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.