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Mexican cartel kidnapper sentenced to 59 years in federal prison in South Carolina

May 12, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Mexican cartel kidnapper sentenced to 59 years in federal prison in South Carolina

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A federal judge has sentenced a Mexican national working for a drug cartel to 59 years in prison for kidnapping a South Carolina man, which sparked an intense manhunt by the FBI in North Carolina back in 2014.

U.S. Judge Michelle Childs handed down the lengthy sentenced to 59-year-old Ruben Ceja-Rangel, which means he’s unlikely to see daylight ever again.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Columbia, South Carolina, Ceja-Rangel was sentenced for kidnapping and use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime.

During the investigation, the FBI used dozens of agents, members of its Hostage Rescue Team, Spanish linguists, expert negotiators, wire taps and aerial surveillance to track down the suspects, according to The State.com.

According to evidence in the case, Ceja-Rangel and two other co-conspirators kidnapped a Calhoun County man at gunpoint in July 2014, and transported him to Roseboro, east of Fayetteville, North Carolina,

Five days after the kidnapping occurred, the FBI tracked down the assailants using tracking locator technology, agents raided a house in the Roseboro area, arresting Ceja-Rangel and rescuing the victim.

Evidence presented at trial further shows that the victim’s father owed a drug debt over 200 pounds of marijuana that went missing belonging to a Mexican cartel.

The cartel hired Ceja-Rangel and his cohorts to track down the victim and hold him hostage with the aim of recovering the significant amount of money owed for the missing drugs.

Ceja-Rangel first stood trial in early 2015 for the kidnapping-related crime, which ended in a mistrial.

During a two-week retrial last October, a jury found him guilty of the charges, his co-defendant in the case, Juan Manuel Fuentes-Morales, of Monterey, Mexico, was also found guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

The third suspect Luis Castro-Villeda, was previously convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

The case garnered widespread attention because court documents filed by the FBI revealed the presence of a major Mexican transnational drug trafficking organization that had an established a marijuana pipeline into South Carolina and North Carolina.

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