A federal grand jury indicted six Mexican citizens for a cross-border hostage ransom plot based in Tijuana, Mexico involving nine kidnapped victims, six of whom were killed even after some families paid a ransom to release them, prosecutors said in Tuesday. …
According to the indictment, from January 2020 to April 2020, 37-year-old German Garcia Jera Hernandez, the main defendant, led an organization to capture United States and Mexican citizens with relatives in the United States, taking them hostage and extorting money from their families.
Three of the victims were US citizens, one of the victims was a resident of Norwalk.
The victim, whose name and age were not listed on the court records, was visiting a family in Tijuana when he was taken hostage and forced to call his mother to ask her to pay $ 25,000 on April 11, 2020.
According to court documents, the victim’s mother was trying to get money and was sent a photograph of her son’s badly beaten face. She agreed to pay $ 1,000 and her son’s car in exchange for his release. He was killed the same day she went to meet with members of the organization. The next day, his body was found in Mexico.
Just over a week later, a Pasadena woman called law enforcement to report the kidnapping of a family member and demanded a ransom of $ 20,000. Law enforcement agencies managed to pick up the victim on the same day from the hotel in Tijuana, where they were being held hostage.
The indictment said the organization lured victims to meetings under false pretenses, for example, claiming they had supplies to sell. The victims were then held at gunpoint, tied up and often severely beaten.
Several members of the organization traveled from Mexico to the United States to locations chosen by Hernandez and others to obtain ransoms from the victims’ families.
If the defendants are found guilty on all charges, they face mandatory sentences of life or death.
All six defendants were charged with one count of conspiracy to take hostages resulting in death, one count of conspiracy to commit extortion, and one count of extortion. They are in custody in Mexico, where they are facing charges brought by the local authorities, according to a statement from the US Department of Justice.
Investigators believe there may be more unidentified victims. Anyone contacted by the defendants regarding the kidnapping or ransom payments can call the local FBI office in Los Angeles at (310) 477-6565.