SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A woman involved in the kidnapping of a 17-year-old boy over a drug debt owed by his mother, will spend nine years in federal prison after accepting a plea deal with prosecutors.
During the plea agreement, Nadina Carolina Avalos, 34, admitted that on August 13, 2018, she came to Utah from Arizona in order to collect a heroin-related drug debt owed to Oscar Chacon by an adult female. She, along with Issa Jassim Al-Sadoon and Juan Carlos Moreno Trinidad, went to a business in West Valley City to collect the money.
Al-Sadoon and Trinidad entered the business and threatened the woman’s 17-year-old son with violence, took pictures of him, then sent them to the woman as part of a demand to repay the drug debt.
Avalos said after they were unable to collect the money, they took orders over the phone from Chacon, who was in Mexico, to kidnap the teen.
The three then held the teen at gunpoint and kept him in a hotel room in Murray, while Chacon continued to attempt to collect the debt from the woman.
The teen called his mother and told her he had been taken by individuals who wanted money from her, along with a short video of the inside of her truck that the three individuals had also stolen.
Chacon sent numerous text messages and recorded voice messages to the woman and threatened her son and other children at her home with physical violence. Chacon made it clear he directed the kidnappers in Utah and that her son would be released only after he was paid at least $10,000, according to documents.
FBI agents, Utah County Major Crime Task Force detectives, and West Valley City police officers were able to locate the juvenile victim later that evening at a Salt Lake County hotel room and return the juvenile unharmed to his home.
Al-Sadoon and Trinidad have also pleaded guilty to kidnapping.
Issa Jassim Al-Sadoon, 28, of Phoenix, was sentenced on July 8 to 120 months in federal prison and 36 months of supervised release. Juan Carlos Moreno Trinidad, 43, of Phoenix, pleaded guilty to kidnapping in July and his sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 13, 2020. He faces a stipulated sentence of 144 months in federal prison.
Jeanette Mejia, 27, of Phoenix, another defendant in the case, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin. She faces up to three years when she is sentenced Oct. 13.
Chacon, 29, a citizen of Honduras, remains a fugitive.
“Organized crime is active in Utah. As the United States Attorney for Utah, I have made it a top priority to confront and dismantle criminal organizations. This case is a glaring example of why we must keep law enforcement pressure on drug traffickers who are drawn to our neighborhoods by an unhealthy demand for illicit drugs. A fugitive leader in a narcotics trafficking organization, operating from south of the border, directed a ransom kidnapping in an otherwise safe Utah neighborhood. As Utahns, this is something we simply cannot tolerate,” said U.S. Attorney John W. Huber.
“As we learned in court, Ms. Avalos’s problems with the law stem from illicit drugs, which often lends itself to criminal behavior and violence,” said Special Agent in Charge Paul Haertel of the Salt Lake City FBI. “Cases like this underscore the larger issues associated with the drug trade, which is why the FBI and our partner task forces are committed to investigating activity that afflicts our communities.”
“Because of the cooperation between the FBI, Salt Lake Police Department, West Valley Police Department and the Utah County Major Crimes Task Force, a 17-year-old victim of kidnapping was safely recovered and returned to his family. Members of a drug trafficking organization, responsible for this violent act, were apprehended due to the hard work and effort of each detective, officer, and agent involved in this case. We are thankful that the victim is safe and that we had a part in this outcome. We will continue our efforts to pursue other drug traffickers operating in Utah,” said Lt. Jeff Bailey, Director of the Utah County Major Crimes Task Force.