GUATEMALA CITY – Three Guatemalans were convicted of kidnapping a Mexican teenager last year and sentenced to prison terms ranging from 50 to 60 years by a criminal court in Guatemala City.
The three – two men and a woman – held the boy for 38 days in a rural area in northwestern Guatemala.
William Michicoj Lopez, the supposed leader of the kidnapping gang, was sentenced to 60 years in prison, while Faustino Miguel and Claudia Leticia Muñoz Castillo were each given 50-year prison sentences.
The three were convicted on kidnapping and arms charges, but they were acquitted on criminal conspiracy charges since the court concluded that prosecutors failed to prove they belonged to Los Zetas, considered Mexico’s most violent drug cartel.
The 13-year-old victim appeared in court on Monday and identified the three kidnappers.
The boy described for the judges the abuse he endured at the hands of the suspects.
The boy told the court that the three Guatemalans were members of the gang that abducted him on Oct. 18, 2011, in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.
The kidnappers, who asked the boy’s family to pay $400,000 for his release, took the victim to Huehuetenango, a Guatemalan city on the border with Mexico, where they held him for nearly six weeks while negotiating the ransom.
Guatemalan National Civilian Police, or PNC, officers rescued the boy in an operation on Nov. 18 and arrested the three suspects.
The kidnappers tortured the boy and made a video in which he appears “beaten and bloodied,” prosecutors told the court.
The video was sent to the boy’s family to pressure them into paying the ransom, prosecutors said. EFE