SANTA MARIA, Calif. – Three men were arrested Friday morning in Santa Maria and charged with felony kidnapping after allegedly kidnapping a 17-year-old in San Bernardino County and holding him for ransom.
All three men, 22-year-old Fidel Jesús Patino Jaimes, 26-year-old Jair Tomás Ramos Domíguez, and 27-year-old Ezequiel Felix López, all told law enforcement they were from Santa Maria after their arrest detail the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California (USAOCDA).
All three defendants are expected to make their initial appearances at U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles on Monday afternoon for felony kidnapping charges which carry a statutory maximum sentence of life imprisonment relay USAOCDA.
According to the affidavit filed with the criminal complaint, on the morning of Sep. 18, the three men allegedly caused a traffic accident in which the 17-year-old crashed into their silver-colored Jeep Grand Cherokee.
After the 17-year-old exited their vehicle following the collision, the men allegedly forced the 17-year-old into their vehicle detail USAOCDA.
In the afternoon of the Sep. 18, the 17-year-old's mother received a telephone call from a Mexico-based phone number in which the caller demanded the delivery of $500,000 to an unspecified location in Nogales, Mexico claiming the abduction was the fault of the 17-year-old's father relay USAOCDA.
According to USAOCDA, shortly after that ransom call, a different Mexico-based phone number was used to send a WhatsApp video to the mother's cellphone showing the 17-year-old in the backseat of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and reading from a script stating that the kidnapping was the father's fault for an incident that occurred in New York.
For several days after those Sep. 18 exchanges, the 17-year-old's mother received multiple phone calls from different Mexico-based telephone numbers in which the speaker demanded payment and threatened to cut off body parts of the 17-year-old if payment was not made detail USAOCDA.
The ransom payment, which remained unpaid, was reduced to $100,000 relay USAOCDA.
According to USAOCDA, law enforcement tracked the three men down to a motel in Santa Maria, in part by identifying the vehicle using Facebook Marketplace posting and reviewing Ring door camera footage from the kidnapping.
During the execution of a search warrant at the Santa Maria motel around 5:20 a.m. Friday morning, law enforcement found all three men, one of whom tossed a firearm onto the floor, and the 17-year-old who was lying on the floor of the room detail the affidavit.