3 drug cartel members kidnap South Carolina man, FBI says

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Three men affiliated with a Mexican drug cartel kidnapped a South Carolina man and held him for ransom for nearly a week in a dispute over $200,000 in marijuana, authorities said Wednesday.

Authorities said the suspects – Juan Manuel Fuentes-Morales, 26; Ruben Ceja-Rangel, 57; and Luis Castro Villeda, 22 – appeared in federal court in Raleigh on Wednesday on charges of conspiracy to kidnap. Court documents did not say what cartel with which they are associated or indicate their nationality.

The man was blindfolded and bound at a North Carolina home before FBI agents traced phone calls from his abductors and stormed the residence, rescuing him mostly unharmed, authorities said. His identity was being withheld for his safety.

The kidnapping began early July 9 when the three men, posing as police officers, pulled the man over as he was going to work in his hometown of St. Matthews, about 30 miles southeast of Columbia. His truck, still running, was left on the side of the road with its door open.

Ransom demands were sent to the man’s family within hours of his disappearance and continued for several days.

The man was involved in delivering cocaine, marijuana and money throughout South Carolina and North Carolina, according to a complaint filed in federal court. He is currently not in custody and does not face any charges.

“Right now he’s a victim, and we will have to look at that very carefully,” said FBI agent David Thomas.

Several months ago, the man received about $200,000 worth of marijuana from the cartel and delivered it to another dealer, but he could not repay the cartel, according to court papers.

In court papers, authorities said they got that information from interviews with the man’s father, who also worked for the drug traffickers. He also has not been charged. Authorities said the case is still developing.

The night he went missing, the man’s fiancee began receiving calls demanding up to $400,000 for his return. Agents traced the calls to Mexico and then to North Carolina. Early Tuesday morning, agents raided a home in Roseboro, about 160 miles northeast of the man’s hometown, and found him bound and in chains, being guarded by two men.

According to court documents unsealed Wednesday, the man later told agents he tried to cut off his restraints with a knife, but a kidnapper discovered his attempt and hit him in the jaw and pointed a gun at him.

The three men were held without bond pending a detention hearing before a federal magistrate judge scheduled for next week. Elizabeth Luck, a spokeswoman for the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Raleigh, said she could not comment.

Officials said the U.S. attorney’s office in Columbia will be handling the prosecution and that the three defendants will likely face extradition to South Carolina.

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corgimom
32204
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corgimom 07/16/14 - 01:36 pm
6
1
I'd say he brought that on

I'd say he brought that on himself.

People think that they are so smart, dealing in drugs- he got off easy, that he wasn't killed.

I have no sympathy for him.

curly123053
4638
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curly123053 07/16/14 - 01:45 pm
5
0
Oh Well !!

That's what he gets for dealing with those thugs!!

redapples
660
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redapples 07/16/14 - 01:46 pm
5
0
You mess with the bull and

You mess with the bull and you get the horns. Avoid the bull by making a legit living and you avoid the horns.

Fiat_Lux
15369
Points
Fiat_Lux 07/16/14 - 02:10 pm
7
4
And the clown in the WH thinks it's just children coming in

Obozo has opened the door for violent predatory animals just like this bunch.

Aren't we all just thrilled?

corgimom
32204
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corgimom 07/16/14 - 02:25 pm
3
11
Fiat Lux, do you think that

Fiat Lux, do you think that they weren't already here for years and years?

And there are American drug dealers that are just as vicious. It's not limited to the Mexicans.

jimmymac
39205
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jimmymac 07/16/14 - 04:25 pm
0
0
KARMA
Unpublished

This drug thug just got a dose of real life karma delivered by other thugs.

unapologetik
964
Points
unapologetik 07/16/14 - 05:29 pm
1
3
Fiat...Corgi is right.

Fiat...Corgi is right. That's all I can say. The cartels have been doing business in America before 2008

Sweet son
10341
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Sweet son 07/16/14 - 05:53 pm
2
0
corgi is right! No sympathy for this chap. He needs to go to

federal prison on some charge that carries life and that should be the end of him. It won't happen but someone needs to find the other Mexicans and hold them until we get our Marine back and then too serve life sentences or maybe something a little more sinister than that!

Fiat_Lux
15369
Points
Fiat_Lux 07/16/14 - 06:10 pm
2
1
bdouglas
4976
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bdouglas 07/17/14 - 11:11 am
2
0
"rescuing him mostly

"rescuing him mostly unharmed"

Is that like mostly alive?

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