Complaint says 'rip crew' demanded ransom
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 8:35 am
By JB Miller
For the Nogales International
A trio of men allegedly working as a "rip crew" in the Tumacacori
Mountains has been accused in federal court of threatening the lives
of undocumented immigrants and forcing them to pay ransoms.
According to a complaint filed on March 29 at U.S. District Court in
Tucson, suspects Christian Perez-Caroil, Ruben Diaz-Vega and Alfredo
Luna-Perez held three victims at gunpoint in a remote location near
The victims, who were reportedly attempting to reach Tucson, said
they had become separated from their "coyote," or guide, when they
encountered Luna-Perez, who was allegedly brandishing a pistol. The
victims said Luna-Perez then escorted them back to a camp area where
two additional bandits were waiting.
Luna-Perez allegedly ordered the three migrants to call their
families on a cell phone and ask for money to guarantee their safe
release. Two of the victims' families eventually wired $1,500 and the
other family sent $1,000 to an account in Nogales, Sonora, the
After being released, the victims, said to be from Mexico and
Guatemala, were eventually apprehended by Border Patrol agents during
the early morning hours of March 28. After learning of the robbery,
the Border Patrol notified its agents at the I-19 checkpoint, who
went after the rip crew.
At approximately 10:30 p.m. the three suspected bandits were located
Agents said they also located a loaded 9mm Kel-Tec Inc. PF-9 Luger
handgun beneath a bush approximately 50 meters from where the bandits
"As these suspects arrived to the processing station, all three were
identified by the material witnesses as being the bandits that held
them at gunpoint in the mountains," the complaint said.
Speaking at a Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors meeting on April
4, Sheriff Antonio Estrada said one of the crew members' footwear
helped give them away.
"He was wearing the tennis shoes of one of the victims," Estrada
said. "That was a giveaway."
The complaint also said Perez-Caroil and Luna-Perez admitted that the
pistol was used in the hold-up and that they were planning to split
the money equally with Diaz-Vega. The account to receive the ransom
had been set-up in Diaz's wife's name.
This is the first known arrest of a rip crew in Santa Cruz County
since the arrest of two alleged bandits following the shooting death
of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010.
Since then, nearly a dozen hold-ups have been reported in the canyon
lands west of Nogales. In November 2011, three suspected drug mules
were found dead in Tumacacori Mountains. They were reportedly shot
Spencer to sue Democratic Party director for defamation
Mon, 04/09/2012 - 12:10am
Glenn Spencer, president of the Hereford-based nongovernmental border
watch group American Border Patrol, plans to file a lawsuit against
Luis Heredia, executive director of the Arizona Democratic Party, for
making certain remarks that are allegedly defamatory.
On March 1, Heredia issued a press release regarding Spencer's
testimony concerning a new border security system, known as the Sonic
Barrier, before the Arizona Senate's Committee on Border Security,
Federalism and States Sovereignty in Phoenix.
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