Three Men Indicted on Kidnapping and Firearms Charges
United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that a Federal Grand Jury in Columbia, South Carolina, returned Indictment(s) against the following:
Juan Manuel Fuentes-Morales, age 26, of Monteray, Mexico; Ruben Ceja-Rangel, age 57, of Mexico; and Luis Castro-Villeda, of Garland, North Carolina were charged in a 5-count indictment. All three defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, a violation of Title 18, U.S. C. §1201(c); substantive kidnapping, a violation of Title 18, U.S. C. §1201(a); hostage taking for ransom, a violation of Title 18, U.S. C. §1203; and two counts each for brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crimes of violence, violations of Title 18, U.S. C. §924(c)(1)(A)(ii). The defendants face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment on each of the 5 charges in the indictment and a maximum fine of $250,000.00 on each charge of the indictment.
The case was investigated by numerous law enforcement agencies including the Columbia FBI Field Office; FBI Field Offices in Charlotte, Atlanta, Houston, Jacksonville, Newark, New Haven, Norfolk, New York, Philadelphia, Richmond and Washington D.C.; LEGAT Mexico City; the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED); the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office; the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office; the South Carolina Department of Public Safety; the City of Columbia Police Department; the Richland County Sheriff’s Office; the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office; the University of South Carolina Police Department; Bladen County, North Carolina Emergency Services; the Bladen County, North Carolina Sheriff’s Office; the Cumberland County, North Carolina Sheriff’s Office; the Sampson County, North Carolina Sheriff’s Office; the Durham County, North Carolina Sheriff’s Office; the Durham Police Department; the North Carolina Department of Public Safety; the Raleigh Police Department; the Fayetteville, North Carolina Police Department; the Texas Department of Public Safety; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina; and the U.S. Office for the District of South Carolina. The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney JD Rowell of the Columbia, South Carolina office for prosecution.
The United States Attorney stated that all charges in these Indictments are merely accusations and that all defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.