Friday, September 5, 2014



5 arrested in kidnapping case; victim treated at hospital
9 hours ago • By Carmen Duarte

A kidnapped teen who was beaten and held for ransom was treated at a hospital Wednesday for non-life threatening injuries.

Five men were taken into custody.

Booked into the Pima County jail were Juan Carlos Martinez-Borajas, 51, on possession of narcotic drugs; Brandon Vega, 19, Jose Pedro Molina-Durgin, 36, Cruz Carrillo, 19, and Jose Angel Reyes-Palomino, 28, each facing kidnapping, extortion and armed robbery.

Martinez-Borajas, who was a passenger in a car that left a south side house while it was under surveillance by police Wednesday, was captured after a high-speed chase into Green Valley where the vehicle crashed into a desert ditch. The crash occurred near South Camino del Sol and West Mission Twin Buttes Road, said Sgt. Pete Dugan, a Tucson Police Department spokesman.

Both Martinez-Borajas and the driver of the vehicle ran after the crash. Authorities did not capture the driver, Dugan said.

The family of the 16-year-old boy received a telephone call Tuesday in which the caller stated the teen was being held. The caller demanded a large amount of money for the teen's return, said Dugan.

The family reported the incident to police and detectives of the home invasion unit began an investigation, which led to the house in the 200 block of West Melridge Street. The neighborhood is near West Drexel Road and South Liberty Avenue.

While the house was under surveillance, officers arrested four men who ran from the house. Police also assisted the teen who ran outside from the house with his hands tied and his face partially blindfolded.

The teen said he was beaten, and that several people had been in the house, and they had guns. The teen also said he heard people saying that there were explosives inside the house, Dugan said.

The Special Weapons and Tactics team and the bomb squad responded to the house to make sure there were no explosive devices on the property. An assault rifle, several handguns and narcotics were found. Several of the guns had been reported stolen, Dugan said.

The Pima County Sheriff's Department, the Arizona Department of Public Safety and Border Patrol assisted police in the case.

Investigators ask that anyone with information call 911 or 88-CRIME.


Note: Growing pot north of the border will put the Mexicans out of business. For sure.

Two plead not guilty in pot field case
Posted: Thursday, September 4, 2014 8:45 am

BROWNSVILLE — Two Mexican nationals arrested near the largest marijuana field found in Willacy County and a "stash house" that federal agents say was used to hold immigrants pleaded not guilty in separate cases Thursday.

Jury selection is set for Oct. 30 in the cases of Miguel Echevarria-Zuniga, 50, and Israel Santiago-Guzman, 23. Echevarria-Zuniga, who is being held on $25,000 bail, faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on a felony charge of re-entering the country on Jan. 19, according to court records.

Records show Echevarria-Zuniga was sentenced to 19 months on a charge of possession with intent to deliver marijuana in 1989 before he was deported in 1990.

Santiago-Guzman, also held on $25,000 bail, faces as much as 15 years in prison and $500,000 in fines on one count of conspiracy to transport immigrants and two counts of transporting immigrants who are in the country illegally, records state.

Both men were arrested Aug. 14 near the remote Willacy County stash house and the marijuana field that had $4.5 million worth of marijuana plants with a street value of $10 million, authorities said.

Agent Bradley Haines, with Homeland Security Investigations, said that Echevarria-Zuniga claimed Santiago-Guzman, described in court records as a "brush guide," had smuggled him and his son Miguel Echevarria-Guizar and a group of immigrants into the United States.

Santiago-Guzman, who denied the claim, led authorities to the stash house off Farm-to-Market Road 490 where he said he was assaulted, records show. Haines said that agents caught 12 immigrants in the country illegally along with Echevarria-Zuniga and his son in the area of the stash house and the marijuana field.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Ignacio Torteya III on Aug. 21 granted Haines' request to search a warehouse at 5200 Mile 10 Rd. in Weslaco rented to Echevarria-Zuniga, records show.

Haines said that he was investigating a possible offense of "conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance," and had reason to believe that the warehouse contained evidence of narcotics and human trafficking. Echevarria-Zuniga's lawyer, Paul Hajjar, said agents have not disclosed findings of their investigation into any link his client has with the Weslaco warehouse.


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