Three men who are in the United States illegally have pleaded guilty to charges that they enticed a man from Rhode Island to Georgia to purchase a car and then held him captive to pay off a $300,000 drug debt.
When federal agents freed Oscar Reynoso, 31, he was bound, gagged and dehydrated. The DEA is seeking other suspects in the case.
Victor Abiles Gomez, 20; Omar Mendoza-Villegas, 19, and Gerardo Solorio Reyes, a/k/a "Gera", 21, plead guilty in federal court in Atlanta to hostage-taking and related charges. Reynoso, a drug dealer, originally from the Dominican Republic, had been held captive in a house in Lilburn, Georgia, for a week as the three men from Mexico attempted to extort money from his relatives in Rhode Island.
Unfortunately this case is not atypical as tactics used by drug dealers in Mexico are being seen increasingly in the United States.
"The methods employed by Mexican drug dealers to collect money are becoming increasingly violent," said U.S. Attorney David Nahmias. Nahmias says the incursion of drug gangs from Mexico threaten, "not only the well-being of those directly involved but also innocent bystanders living in neighborhoods" where they operate.
Back in July, DEA agents and local cops set up surveillance of the Lilburn house after receiving information that someone was being held hostage inside. When the three men holding Reynoso hostage spotted the police they tried to escape. DEA and FBI agents along with Gwinnett County police raided the house and freed Reynoso. He was found changed to a mattress in an unfinished basement of the home, bound and gagged, dehydrated and badly beaten.
Reynoso, who had travelled to Georgia on the premise of purchasing a car, was ambushed and assaulted by eight armed men, previously pleaded guilty to federal drug charges.
The house is located in a middle class neighborhood of Lilburn. The Atlanta area has been identified as a battleground of Mexican drug gangs operating in the United States.
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