Wagswoofs – Federal agents caught a cruel drug lord known as “El Don” in Mexico after more than a year on the run. He was charged with drug crimes, assault, and kidnapping in a Manhattan courtroom on Thursday.
Two people were kidnapped early last year and beaten in a Bronx basement apartment with a hot iron and melted plastic, according to 31-year-old Jonathan Huertas and his friends. They planned to take a third victim before the police arrived.
Three people connected to Huertas were arrested when police searched an apartment in Morris Heights and found nine pounds of drugs, including fentanyl and cocaine.
Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said on Thursday that Huertas ran away and was missing for a year and a half before he was caught in Jalisco, Mexico, and sent back to New York.
“Not only are the illegal drugs flooding our city causing record numbers of overdose deaths, but members of criminal groups that are involved in bringing them in and selling them have been charged with crimes of cruelty and disregard for human life,” Brennan said in a statement.
Prosecutors claim that the police closely monitored Huertas and his associates as they entered and exited the apartment on Bronxdale Avenue. They utilized video footage to track the suspects and gather evidence.
According to authorities, Huertas was caught on video torturing a victim on January 29, 2022, by putting a hot iron to his buttocks and dripping melted plastic on him while the other members of the gang talked about kidnapping someone else.
On January 31, the second victim was reportedly ill-treated with the hot iron.
In February 2022, the police took action and apprehended the group residing in the apartment. The crew members, namely Ronny Jimenez and Cesar Jimenez, were among those arrested. Eventually, both Ronny and Cesar pleaded guilty to charges related to drugs, kidnapping, and weapons. As a result, they were sentenced to seven years in prison each.
Jasmin Roman, another accomplice, admitted to drug possession and was sentenced to five years of probation, according to authorities.
After evading capture, Huertas was eventually apprehended in Mexico in September on a federal warrant. He was subsequently extradited back to the United States.
Arraigned in Manhattan Supreme Court on Thursday, he appeared dressed in a green jumpsuit and white sneakers. The charges against him include kidnapping, conspiracy, assault, operating as a major trafficker, and multiple counts of drug possession.
Huertas entered a plea of not guilty and Judge Steven Statsinger ordered him to be held without bail. He will be returned to federal custody at a later date.
“This indictment sheds light on the grim realities of drug trafficking, including the menacing specters of violence, kidnapping, and torture,” remarked Frank Tarentino, the special agent overseeing the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York division, in a statement.
DEA is determined to bring criminals to justice, regardless of their whereabouts,” Torentino emphasized. “In this particular instance, the DEA, along with our law enforcement partners, successfully traced Jonathan Huertas to Jalisco, ensuring that he is held accountable for his actions.”