Reading Woman Gets 342 Months for Drug-Debt Kidnapping
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 05, 2013|
PHILADELPHIA—Grace Marie Perez-Jimenez, 27, of Reading, Pennsylvania, was sentenced today to 28.5 years in prison for kidnapping a 14-year-old child for ransom over a drug debt. In 2011, Perez sold crack cocaine to a Reading resident. On November 3, 2011, after the drug customer failed to pay her $500, Perez abducted the customer’s 14-year-old child as the child walked home from school in Reading, Pennsylvania. Inside the car, Perez physically assaulted the 14-year-old victim, threatening to kill the child by saying, for example, “You see this right here [referring to the gun], if I don’t get my money you may not be going home to mom.” The victim was then blindfolded and handcuffed to a chair. Reading Police assisted the kidnapping victim’s mother to arrange a ransom drop. Perez’s co-defendant, Samantha Conrad, was captured on a video recording retrieving the first drop of pre-recorded ransom money. After the first $500 ransom payment, Perez drove to Philadelphia, along with the minor child, in Perez’s gold Mitsubishi and used the $500 to buy PCP to later sell in Reading. Perez demanded more money, and a second ransom drop was placed in the mailbox of Perez’s mother.
Finally, after the second ransom payment and hours of psychological torture, the child was released with the threat that Perez would kill the 14-year-old victim and the family if anyone was told the identity of the kidnappers. Perez pleaded guilty on July 12, 2012 to conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping, conspiracy to distribute phencyclidine (PCP), possession with intent to distribute phencyclidine (PCP), collection of extension of credit by extortionate means, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge James Knoll Gardner ordered Perez to pay a $5,000 fine, a $700 special assessment, and ordered five years of supervised release.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Reading Police Department, and the Berks County District Attorney’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Natali.