COLUMBIA, S.C., July 16 (UPI) -- Three men were charged Wednesday with kidnapping a South Carolina man in an effort to collect $200,000 he owed to a Mexican drug cartel.
The victim, a resident of St. Matthews, a small town in the Columbia area, was rescued Tuesday in a series of FBI raids in North Carolina, investigators said. His identity is being withheld because of concerns about his safety, but agents said he appeared to be in good condition and was with his family.
Luis Castro-Villeda, Ruben Ceja-Rangel and Juan Manuel Fuentes-Morales appeared in federal court in North Carolina and were charged with conspiracy to kidnap and other charges. Officials said they will be transferred to South Carolina for trial.
The victim allegedly worked for the drug organization, but cut ties to them when he was unable to pay for a shipment he received several months ago.