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Feds charge lady Mexican drug boss in kidnapping case in San Diego Federal Court

December 23, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Feds charge lady Mexican drug boss in kidnapping case in San Diego Federal Court

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A lady boss of a Mexican drug trafficking organization has been charged with holding a drug smuggler hostage in Sinaloa and extorting money from the victim’s mother in San Diego.

Maria Dolores Romero-Sandoval, who also goes by Lolis or Lola, was taken into custody on Saturday. Romero appeared in federal court for a bail hearing on Thursday, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

The victim, whose gender or identity has not been revealed, was working for the woman’s ring early this year when he or she picked up drugs in San Diego, brought them to New Jersey, and then returned with $21,000, a criminal complaint filed in San Diego federal court indicated.

On May 16th, with the $21,000, the victim was apprehended by U.S. authorities and the profits were seized.

On June 27th, a man called the victim and told he/she to travel to Culiacán, Mexico– the capital of Sinaloa, which is also the center of the drug trade — to discuss the funds owed to the cartel, which included the $21,000.

In July, the victim and a companion — who is not implicated in the drug trade — traveled from San Diego into Tijuana and then flew to Culiacán. Both individuals are U.S. citizens. They were informed to take a taxi to a motel, where they were picked up by two men in an SUV.

At a nearby residence, a man lurking inside went up to the two with a gun and demanded that the victim’s friend get on the ground, and the man kicked the friend in the stomach.

The men then took their clothes, wallets, and phones and tied up their hands and feet.

Romero arrived the following day and assured the friend that he or she would not get hurt but must remain confined until the situation was solved.

For many days, the victim was brought into a separate room to make numerous ransom calls to his or her mom in San Diego. The suspects threatened to execute the victim unless $100,000 was paid. The mother called the FBI, which recorded over 50 phone calls from the kidnappers between July 4th and the 11th.

The hostage-takers also warned that they would dismember the victim and mail the remains back to the mother and would abduct more of her mother’s children if the ransom money wasn’t given.

The kidnappers even snapped pictures of the victim, who appeared as if he was tortured and messaged them to the mother’s Facebook account. The pictures showed the victim bloodied, bound, and with a knife pointed at the ear and throat. They also showed pliers around the fingers and a gun aimed at the head. The FBI later discovered that the photos were staged. It is not clear if the victim was hurt during the ordeal.

Later that day, the mother traveled to Tijuana with a $12,400 payment. The criminals informed her that it was not enough to release they victim, but that they would hold off on hurting him or her.

The mother paid another $12,190 a few days later and handed the cash to a woman who left in a Honda registered as Romero’s. It is the same vehicle that Romero drove to San Diego in on three earlier instances.

The victim and friend were then set free, but Romero informed the victim that $50,000 was still owed. They communicated through WhatsApp. In one message, Romero reportedly told the victim that the missing funds had left her “dealing with a big problem,” and “they won’t stop until they know where you are,” and that “it doesn’t matter how much time goes by.”

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