July 30 2012 – LawFuel.com Law Newswire Service for Attorneys
LOS ANGELES – A Ventura County man who kidnapped his former girlfriend and brought her to Mexico while threatening to kill her and dispose of her body was convicted today by a federal court jury, announced André Birotte Jr, the United States Attorney for the Central District of California, and Timothy Delaney, the Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Division.
Rudy Soto, 25, of Oxnard, was found guilty of two counts – conspiracy to commit kidnapping and kidnapping.
Soto and his co-defendant, Erin Nicole Fisher, 22, of Santa Paula, were indicted by a federal grand jury in October 2010, for their roles in a conspiracy to kidnap the victim, who is identified in the indictment as “E.C.”
The evidence presented at trial showed that Soto contacted the victim on September 14, 2010, and told her that he had a “surprise” for her. When Soto arrived at the victim’s home near downtown Los Angeles, the victim refused to accompany him and told him that their relationship was over. After an argument, Soto abducted E.C. and threw her into a waiting pickup truck that allegedly was driven by Fisher. While Soto restrained the victim, Fisher allegedly drove the vehicle to Mexico. During this drive, Soto told the victim he was taking her to Mexico, where she was going to die. Soto also contacted the victim’s family during this time and advised the victim’s brother-in-law that he was taking E.C. to Tijuana and would dump her there. When the victim tried to fight or escape, Soto held a knife to the victim’s throat and threatened to kill her.
At the Otay Mesa checkpoint at the United States-Mexico border, Mexican authorities stopped the pickup truck, which prompted the victim to scream for help. After telling Mexican authorities about her plight and being threatened with a knife, Mexican authorities detained Soto, Fisher and the victim. After E.C. was examined by a Mexican army physician, she was released. Agents with United States Customs and Border Protection helped return her to the United States.
Soto, who has been in custody since his arrest in Mexico, is scheduled to be sentenced on December 3 by United States District Judge Otis D. Wright II. As a result of today’s guilty pleas, Soto faces a statutory maximum penalty of life in prison.
Fisher is being prosecuted separately and will participate in a court-ordered diversionary program.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which received substantial assistance from the the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs; United States Customs and Border Protection; the Los Angeles Police Department; the FBI’s Legal Attache in Mexico City; and officials with the Justice Department and the State Department assigned to the United States Embassy in Mexico.
Mexican authorities provided considerable assistance during this investigation and during the trial, including the Secretaría de Marina – Armada de México (the Mexican Navy); the Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional (the Mexican Army); and the Procuraduría General de la República (the Mexican Attorney General).
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney John Lulejian
Violent and Organized Crime Section
Release No. 12-099