FBI: 3 cartel members accused of kidnapping SC man - 8 News NOW

FBI: 3 cartel members accused of kidnapping SC man

Posted: Updated:
  • NationalMore>>

  • Deliberations in Ventura trial enter Day 3

    Deliberations in Ventura trial enter Day 3

    Thursday, July 24 2014 10:33 AM EDT2014-07-24 14:33:43 GMT
    A jury in St. Paul is set to resume deliberating for a third day whether a man regarded as the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history libeled former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura in his memoir.More>>
    A jury in St. Paul has reconvened for a third day to deliberate whether a man regarded as the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history defamed former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura in his memoir.More>>
  • How Arizona, Ohio, Oklahoma, executions went awry

    How Arizona, Ohio, Oklahoma, executions went awry

    Thursday, July 24 2014 9:35 AM EDT2014-07-24 13:35:50 GMT
    By The Associated Press Since the start of the year, executions in Ohio, Oklahoma and Arizona have gone awry, with inmates gasping for breath as lethal drugs coursed through their bodies. The...More>>
    By The Associated Press Since the start of the year, executions in Ohio, Oklahoma and Arizona have gone awry, with inmates gasping for breath as lethal drugs coursed through their bodies. The Associated...More>>
  • Slow North Dakota city fire alert raises concern

    Slow North Dakota city fire alert raises concern

    Thursday, July 24 2014 8:23 AM EDT2014-07-24 12:23:59 GMT
    A more efficient system must be established to alert residents of danger in North Dakota's booming oil patch, an emergency manager and residents said, after authorities failed to alert the public for more than...More>>
    A more efficient system must be established to alert residents of danger in North Dakota's booming oil patch, an emergency manager and residents said, after authorities failed to alert the public for more than six...More>>
By MEG KINNARD and MICHAEL BIESECKER
Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - 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.

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, who is in charge of the Columbia office.

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. Authorities are not sure whether he stole the marijuana or was ripped off by the dealer.

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.

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 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.

___

Biesecker reported from Raleigh. Follow him at Twitter.com/mbieseck

Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Las Vegas NewsLas Vegas NewsMore>>

  • NLV fire dept. struggles with aging fire trucks

    NLV fire dept. struggles with aging fire trucks

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 7:18 PM EDT2014-07-23 23:18:28 GMT

    The city of North Las Vegas is using fire engines considered past their prime. Some have been on the road for so long, they're now even beyond national standards for replacement.

    More>>

    The city of North Las Vegas is using fire engines considered past their prime. Some have been on the road for so long, they're now even beyond national standards for replacement.

    More>>
  • Hot weather brings summer pests

    Hot weather brings summer pests

    Thursday, July 24 2014 10:01 AM EDT2014-07-24 14:01:06 GMT
    The hot and humid weather outside might be bringing bugs into your home. Many insects and arachnids are active in the summer as they seek food, water and shelter.More>>
    The hot and humid weather outside might be bringing bugs into your home. Many insects and arachnids are active in the summer as they seek food, water and shelter.More>>
  • 8 on Your Side: Las Vegas couple fights for trip refund

    8 on Your Side: Las Vegas couple fights for trip refund

    Thursday, July 24 2014 10:01 AM EDT2014-07-24 14:01:06 GMT
    Have you ever bought something with a money-back guarantee, but later found it nearly impossible to get a refund? That happened to one couple, so they turned to 8 on Your Side.More>>
    Have you ever bought something with a money-back guarantee, but later found it nearly impossible to get a refund? That happened to one couple, so they turned to 8 on Your Side.More>>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KLAS. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.