3 charged after mistaken ID leads to Miami man’s kidnapping, torture, prosecutors say

3 charged after mistaken ID leads to Miami man’s kidnapping, torture, prosecutors say

Kinsey Crowley

Three men face federal charges after a spoiled kidnapping plot ending in a fake bomb threat, federal prosecutors say.

Jeffry Arista, 32, and his brother, Jonathan Arista, 29, and Raymond Gomez, 33, have all been charged with kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap for an incident that occurred near Miami.

The three men allegedly kidnapped a male victim outside his apartment and brought him to an Airbnb they had rented, according to U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Florida. Upon arrival, they realized they had picked up the wrong person, and criminal complaint documents state that they proceeded with torture tactics anyways.

The victim told police he was later ordered to connect with his coworker at a business, the intended target of the abduction. The alleged kidnappers let the victim go inside the business so that he could lure the coworker out, but the victim called law enforcement with a bomb threat instead, according to court documents.

The attorneys representing the Arista’s did not immediately respond to USA TODAY’s emailed request for comment Thursday. Attorney information for Gomez was not immediately available, though court documents show he admitted that he was involved in the kidnapping.

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Kidnapping plot gone wrong, victim waterboarded anyways

The October 13 incident was investigated by the Miami FBI in coordination with the Broward Sheriff’s Office and Fort Lauderdale Police Department.

According to their interviews, here is what prosecutors say happened that day:

  • At 7:30 a.m., the victim was approached in the parking garage of his Fort Lauderdale residence and forced into a car.
  • With a black head covering on to obscure his vision, he was taken to a residence.
  • With his head covering off, he identified himself and the alleged kidnappers discovered they had the wrong person.
  • They then threatened the victim with drills, tasers and firearms, and poured buckets of water on his head while he had ski masks on, “effectively waterboarding him,” court records show.

Gomez told prosecutors that they were after the victim’s coworker under the direction of an unidentified man, who claimed the coworker owed him money. Gomez expected to be paid for his involvement, but felt bad for the victim, he said.

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Victim calls in bomb threat for rapid police response

Later that day, the alleged kidnappers began brainstorming on how to get to their intended target, according to court records.

They devised a plan to have the coworker meet up with the victim, and drove him to a business to try to lure him out. The group arrived at the business later that night and sent the victim into the business to lure the coworker out.

Instead, the victim contacted law enforcement with a bomb threat. He told law enforcement he had done so in order to get a rapid response.

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Jonathan Arista later told police that he was in fear for his safety and not involved in planning the events, but confirmed that he was one of the people who brought the victim to the business, records show.

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