Three Members of Same Family Indicted for Allegedly Kidnapping Victim in Mexico then Traveling to U.S. to Collect Ransom Payment

A federal grand jury today returned a four-count indictment against a father, his sister, and his son for an alleged kidnapping scheme in which the father pretended to act as an intermediary between the victim hostage's family and the hostage takers while his son and sister crossed the border into the United States to collect the ransom money.

The following defendants – all from Rosarito, Mexico – are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit hostage taking and one count of conspiracy to demand a ransom payment:

Mario Alex Medina, 53, a.k.a. "Shyboy;"

Jose Salud Medina, 31, a.k.a. "Gordo," who is Mario Medina's son; and

Maria Alejandra Medina, 50, who is Mario Medina's sister and Jose Medina's aunt.

Mario and Jose Medina also are each charged with one count of making a foreign communication with intent to extort.

Maria Medina has been in federal custody since March 26 and is currently jailed without bond. Her arraignment is scheduled for April 16 in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles. Mario Medina made his initial appearance on Monday in United States District Court in Bakersfield and has a detention hearing scheduled there for April 11. Jose Medina is incarcerated in Mexico.

According to the indictment, on November 5, 2022, Mario Medina directed and helped accomplices break into the house of a neighbor, identified in court documents as "R.V.," kidnapping the victim at gunpoint, pistol whipping him and firing a gun near his head. The next day, one of the co-conspirators placed a ransom call to the victim's family in Los Angeles County and demanded $70,000 for his release. The kidnappers, through WhatsApp, also sent a video of the victim being beaten.

On November 10, 2022, Jose Medina allegedly telephoned a relative of R.V.'s and threatened to kill the victim if R.V.'s family did not pay $30,000. Later that day, Mario Medina – pretending to be an intermediary between R.V.'s family and the hostage takers – allegedly told the victim's family to meet at a McDonald's restaurant in San Ysidro, located north of the U.S.-Mexico border, to make the ransom payment.

Jose and Maria Medina allegedly met the victim's family the next day at the McDonald's restaurant, where they collected the $30,000 ransom payment, which they took with them back to Mexico.

The hostage takers on November 11, 2022, then left R.V. tied up and alone in a small, subterranean trench, where Mexican law enforcement rescued him later that day.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

If convicted of all charges, the defendants would face a statutory maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The FBI is investigating this matter.

Assistant United States Attorneys Jena A. MacCabe and Derek R. Flores of the Violent and Organized Crime Section are prosecuting this case.


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