Two kidnappers, the sons of Mexican “high rollers” who were themselves kidnapped by the Mexican cartel five years earlier, sequestered the son of a wealthy dancing horses owner in Colorado. During sentencing, the lawyer for one of the brothers speculated they committed the crime because ICE agents had mistreated them. The other brother blamed his criminal behavior on drug abuse and loyalty to his sibling.
The Denver Post reported that Jonatan (21) and Raymundo (24) Maldonado-Salgado kidnapped their victim from a porn store on August 30, 2016. They held him for ransom and beat him over a three-day period. Although the kidnappers told the victim’s father they would kill his son if he contacted law enforcement, the father notified the FBI and later arrested the two brothers.
During the sentencing hearing in January, U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson said, “They were undoubtedly traumatized by being kidnapped. And then they turn around and do the same to somebody else. Isn’t that a little bizarre?”
A clinical forensic psychologist who has done research on criminal behavior and victimization, Kim Gorgens, testified, “Is their decision to kidnap someone a product of them being kidnapped? Maybe.” It is unknown whether the expert witness was hired by the brothers for their defense.
His attorney attempted to explain how the Mexican machismo culture impacted both of the kidnappings.
“The cartels believe that if they own a dancing horse … it makes them more manly,” William James O’Donnell III, Raymundo’s attorney said. “For them, it’s: ‘I have a dancing horse. I have a lot of money.”
Mexican drug cartels kidnapped the Maldonado-Salgado brothers at gunpoint in 2011. The brothers allegedly endured four days of beatings. After they were released, their family sought asylum in El Paso and most of the family was allowed to stay. Raymundo, an adult, was sent back to his native country of Mexico.
Raymundo’s lawyer urged that his client’s mistreatment by ICE immigration officers may have incited him to commit the kidnapping five years later. Raymundo was in the country because he had re-entered the U.S. illegally.
During sentencing, Jonatan was translated to say that he was sorry and would never commit a criminal act again. His only excuse for kidnapping someone and subjecting them to treatment similar to what he had sustained from the Mexican cartel, was caused by drug abuse and loyalty to his older brother, the Post reported.