Oxnard Man Who Kidnapped Former Girlfriend and Threatened to Kill Her in Mexico Sentenced to More Than 24 Years in Federal Prison
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 09, 2013|
LOS ANGELES—A Ventura County man who kidnapped his former girlfriend and drove her to Mexico while threatening to kill her and dump her body was sentenced this morning to 293 months in federal prison.
Rudy Soto, 26, of Oxnard, was sentenced by United States District Judge Otis D. Wright, II.
Soto was convicted following a week-long jury trial in July 2012 of conspiring to kidnap and kidnapping. The evidence at trial showed that after a heated exchange between Soto and the victim on September 14, 2010, Soto traveled from Oxnard to the victim’s residence near downtown Los Angeles. When the victim refused to accompany him, Soto carried and dragged the victim, who was screaming and kicking him, to a waiting truck that was being driven by co-defendant Erin Nicole Fisher, 22. Soto, using the weight of his body, pinned the victim to the front passenger seat while Fisher drove the vehicle to Mexico.
During this drive, Soto told the victim he was taking her to Mexico, where she was going to die. Soto also contacted the victim’s family and advised her brother-in-law that he was taking the victim to Tijuana and would dump her there. When the victim tried to fight or escape, Soto held a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her. Eventually, the victim accepted that she was going to be killed and gave up trying to fight Soto and escape. During her testimony, she told the jury, “I was tired, and I just resigned myself. And I said if he is going to kill me, let him kill me.”
At the Otay Mesa checkpoint at the United States-Mexico border, Mexican authorities stopped the pickup truck, which prompted the victim to scream for help. After telling Mexican authorities about her plight and being threatened with a knife, Mexican authorities detained Soto, Fisher, and the victim. After the victim was examined by a Mexican army physician, she was released. Agents with United States Customs and Border Protection helped return her to the United States.
“To carry out his plan, [Soto] physically restrained her, struck her, terrorized her, and threatened to kill her with a knife that he brandished,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo. “In addition, he psychologically tortured the victim, playing on her emotions and the nature of their tumultuous relationship.”
Fisher is being prosecuted separately and is participating in a court-ordered diversionary program.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which received substantial assistance from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Los Angeles Police Department, the FBI’s Legal Attache in Mexico City, and officials with the Justice Department and the State Department assigned to the United States Embassy in Mexico.
Mexican authorities provided considerable assistance during this investigation, including the Secretaría de Marina-Armada de México (the Mexican Navy); the Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional (the Mexican Army); and the Procuraduría General de la República (the Mexican Attorney General).