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Brothers who were kidnapped by a drug cartel sentenced for abduction of Colorado horse ranch owner’s son

February 13, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Brothers who were kidnapped by a drug cartel sentenced for abduction of Colorado horse ranch owner’s son

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Two brothers who were kidnapped and beaten by a Mexican cartel, have themselves become the suspects in an abduction case in Colorado.

Jonatan and Raymundo Maldonado-Salgado, who are the sons of a then affluent horse trainer, were only 15- and 18-years-old, respectively when they kidnapped by a drug cartel in their native Mexico at gunpoint and were badly beaten over the course of four days until they were released in 2011.

The brothers and their relatives fled to the United States after the horrific ordeal.

However, authorities say in an almost identical plan to their own kidnapping, the brothers abducted the son of a wealthy horse ranch owner in Commerce City, Colorado, according to the Denver Post.

In August 2016, the Salgado brothers, along with fugitive Marco Cota-Tamaura, who they met in a bar and roped into the scheme, trailed their victim, identified only as A. F. into an adult store, where they attacked.

The three men, who were all sporting ski masks, brandished firearms, one of which included Cota-Tamaura’s AK-47, as the victim attempted to hide behind the store’s female employee.

The three assailants ripped out the store’s phone cables, and pulled the victim to the truck.

Cota-Tamaura beat him with the barrel of his gun and put a hood over his head.

They also took the keys to the victim’s vehicle and brought it to his family’s address as evidence that they had their son.

The court heard how Cota-Tamaura beat the victim over the next three days while the Maldonado-Salgado brothers attempted to negotiate the terms of his release with his father.

The brothers asked for $500,000 for the man’s release and warned the father that if he contacted the authorities, they’d execute his entire family.

However, the father contacted authorities and the FBI listened to their calls, recording the moment the brothers received the $200,000 amount they agreed on with A. F’s father.

In early September, SWAT teams raided the homes of the kidnappers who were subsequently taken into custody.

The role reversal from victim to abductor came up during the sentencing hearings of the brothers, for 24-year-old Raymundo in September and 21-year-old Jonatan in January.

“They were traumatized by being kidnapped. Then they turn around and do the same to somebody else,” Judge Jackson said during Jonatan’s hearing. ‘Isn’t that bizarre?’

After the brothers were taken, the family had applied for asylum in El Paso. While most were awarded it, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ruled to deport Raymundo, who was an adult, back to Mexico.

At his sentencing, lawyer William James O’Donnell II said that the mishandling of the case by ICE agents might have been a reason in why his client decided to fake a kidnapping after he illegally entered the country.

Raymundo also attributed his crimes to drug use and begged for mercy for the sake of his five-year-old daughter. He was sentenced to 18 years behind bars.

Jonatan, who sobbed at his sentencing as he vowed never to commit another crime, also blamed drugs and loyalty to his brother for the incident.

He too requested a lenient sentence, because of his son who was born while he was in custody.

Jonatan was given 12 years after he agreed to testify against his brother and Cota-Tamaura.

Hernando Aguilar-Banuelos, 32, who had the apartment where the group kept the victim, is scheduled to be sentenced on March 27th.

The unexpected twist of fate has left experts questioning whether the brothers’ own kidnappings could have been a catalyst for their crimes.

“Is their decision to kidnap a product of them being kidnapped? Maybe,” Kim Gorgens, a clinical forensic psychologist, said to the Denver Post.

She added that victims of abuse could become desensitized to trauma, which could be linked to their decision to kidnap their own victim in 2016.

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