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More Details & Denials in Kidnap for Ransom Trial

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Aired 4/19/09

A third day of preliminary hearing produced more details and more denials in the case of a wealthy Tijuana businessman kidnapped in Chula Vista earlier this summer. It's a case of possible kidnapping by a Mexican drug cartel. One of the defendants claims the victim himself worked for a rival drug cartel. KPBS reporter Amy Isackson is covering the case.

The 32-year-old victim, Eduardo Gonzalez Tostado, says his ordeal begin when a beautiful woman lured him to a Chula Vista home with the promise of drinks. In court yesterday, Gonzalez' cousin, Sergio Valdez, described working with the FBI to deliver the kidnappers the initial $200,000. Valdez says they got together at a Popeye's restaurant near the 8 freeway.

Per the kidnappers' instructions, they handed the money over at the National City Swap Meet. Valdez also described how the leader of the gang tried to cut a side deal with him for $100,000 and some Rolex watches, which Gonzalez said would be a present to his captors for treating him well.

The six defendants are believed to belong to a cross-border kidnap and murder ring that targets Arellano Felix Drug Cartel members. Gonzalez has disavowed any cartel ties. But a defense attorney for one of the kidappers tried to chip away at the denial for a second day yesterday. Gonzalez' attorneys say he was targeted for his money.

Amy Isackson, KPBS News.

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