Three Mexican drug cartel members were sentenced in San Diego Wednesday for their roles in a conspiracy to kidnap drug dealers who owed them money – even threatening to turn one of their targets into human soup.
The cartel members include: Tijuana resident Carlos Alberto Andrade-De La Cruz, 36; San Diego resident Luis Miguel Salas Rodriguez, 26; and San Diego resident Antonio Zermeno Garcia, 30.
According to sentencing documents, the three defendants plotted violent revenge on at least three other drug dealers from San Diego.
Upon suspecting that those drug dealers were stealing methamphetamine, the trio plotted to kidnap their targets, take them back to Mexico and use violence to collect on those unpaid debts. The trio also planned to extort money from their victims and take luxury vehicles by force.
After making plans, sentencing documents state that Andrade-De La Cruz – the ringleader of the plot – crossed illegally into the U.S. from Mexico in March 2012 and met Rodriguez and Garcia in front of the home of their first intended victim.
Wiretaps into phone conversations between the defendants revealed Garcia told conspirators that the debtor would be turned into “pozole” – a type of Mexican soup.
According to investigators, this term is often used by drug cartels to describe a “soup” made by dissolving the human body in acid.
The FBI tracked the trio near the home of their first intended victim and SWAT officials arrested Andrade-De La Cruz, Garcia and Rodriguez on the spot. The intended victim told agents he would’ve ended up in the trunk of a car had officials not intervened.
At the trio’s sentencing hearing, a judge described the defendants’ plan as cold-blooded. The judge said he believed the cartel members had every intention of carrying out the brutal revenge plot.
The office of U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy said Andrade-De La Cruz was sentenced Wednesday to more than 10 years in prison, plus five years of supervised release. Rodriguez and Garcia were both sentenced to more than 7 years in prison, plus five years of supervised release.