NEWARK, N.J. (TCD) -- Two men and a woman from Brooklyn face federal charges after they allegedly kidnapped an 18-year-old fin Delaware following, held him hostage, tortured, and stabbed him.
According to the criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, on March 17 at 10:55 p.m., the victim allegedly met up with one of the suspects, Alexander Cruz, and another individual near the teen’s home in Hackensack to discuss the drug deal.
The two other suspects, Dennis Reyes Mora and Cindy Aleman Fernandez, reportedly arrived in their own vehicle. Cruz, the victim, and the unnamed individual reportedly left to "conduct the drug transaction."
The criminal complaint refers to Mora and Fernandez as Reyes and Aleman, respectively.
Those three allegedly drove to a hotel parking lot in Delaware, where they met up with Reyes, Aleman, and another unnamed individual. The criminal complaint says another man showed up at the parking lot, and "a dispute arose with him over the drug deal."
Cruz, Aleman, Reyes, and the two unnamed individuals allegedly kidnapped the victim in "response to the dispute." One of the unnamed suspects allegedly tied the teen with tape, put him in Cruz’s car with the other unnamed individual, and "threatened to stab and kill" him. One of the unnamed conspirators allegedly stabbed the victim twice in the leg.
Cruz, the victims, and the two co-conspirators drove back through New Jersey toward Queens, New York, in Cruz’s car, then moved the victim to Reyes and Aleman’s vehicle. Cruz allegedly took over driving Reyes and Aleman’s car with the co-conspirators and victim inside. The suspects reportedly made the victim lie on the floor of the SUV.
When they arrived in Queens, the suspects allegedly took the victim to a basement of a home on 94th Street where they covered his eyes and bound his wrists and ankles with tape. The suspected kidnappers reportedly tortured the victim by "running a knife on his neck, holding a gasoline-soaked rag against his eyes, burning him with cigarettes, and beating him."
One of the unnamed co-conspirators allegedly showed the victim ammunition from his gun "to threaten him."
Aleman allegedly "laughed while the torture was occurring."
The victim’s family contacted Hackensack Police the next day, March 18, because the victim called from his phone and said he had been kidnapped and the suspects wanted $45,000. They received another call in which the victim "said that he had been blindfolded and that his kidnappers were demanding $60,000 in exchange for his return."
The suspects allegedly called the family again from another phone number.
Police learned the telephone number that contacted the victim’s family had called Aleman’s phone 100 times on March 17 and March 18. Investigators discovered Aleman’s phone number was associated with an address on Rockaway Avenue, which Cruz also used as his home address when he was issued a traffic ticket in New Jersey last year.
Investigators obtained data from different cellphones and saw they all traveled within the same areas.
According to the criminal complaint, Cruz’s SUV was towed March 20, and law enforcement officials seized the vehicle March 27. The back seat of the car had reportedly been removed and cleaned, but investigators found traces of blood.
On March 21, the victim’s family reportedly paid $20,000 in ransom, and the suspects released the victim, who "sustained significant physical injuries." A law enforcement air unit reportedly followed the interaction.
Investigators obtained a search warrant for the basement in Queens and located shell casings, gasoline, duct tape, and a chair. Officials reportedly found traces of blood on the chair and walls. The suspects were arrested on or around the same day following additional search warrants at their residences.