Two Mexican nationals arrested in Arizona on charges of kidnapping, extortion, and murder

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Glendale police arrested two men who they say kidnapped and killed a man and then orchestrated a ransom plot to extort 300,000 Mexican pesos — roughly more than $17,600 in U.S. dollars — from the victim’s family, court documents say.

The two men, Jose Rochin Ruiz, 27, and Ofelio Quintero, 37, were arrested on Monday in connection with the murder of Luis Solano Pillado, 24. According to court documents, Pillado was killed over money he stole from Ruiz when both of them lived in Mexico.

Police began investigating the case on July 25 when they received reports of a possible kidnapping. Pillado’s family told police they had not heard from him since July 23 when he was seen leaving his home, court documents say.

Pillado’s body was found by Glendale police on Monday following the arrest of Ruiz and Quintero. According to the investigation, he was killed on July 23 — at least a day before Pillado’s family began receiving ransom calls, court documents say.

What happened, according to court documents

The calls asking for ransom started on July 24, court documents say. Pillado’s brother, who is in Mexico, began receiving text messages and calls from a 480 area code number saying his brother had been kidnapped and demanding he pay $300,000 Mexican pesos as ransom for his brother’s release or he would be killed.

Police said they later learned that Ruiz was making these calls. Court documents say the calls were also accompanied by videos of Pillado sitting inside a walk-in closet — gagged with a piece of fabric over his head and his hands tied with electrical cords.

In the video, Pillado told his family that he loved them and asked for the ransom to be paid, court documents say.

Several calls where Ruiz asked the family for a ransom followed until July 28, court documents say.

Court documents show that detectives obtained historical cellphone data for both Ruiz and Pillado.

On the morning of July 28, data from Ruiz’s phone showed him traveling north toward Interstate 17 and Table Mesa Road near Anthem. Here police say, he remained for about an hour; the area is rural and is desert.

Police searched the area later but found nothing. Later on July 28, calls continued to be made to Pillado’s family, with continued threats.

On July 25, detectives found Pillado’s car — the location was not disclosed in court documents — and tried to ping his phone but were unsuccessful. On July 28, Pillado’s car left the place where it was originally found and was dropped off at a scrap yard near 43rd Avenue and Broadway Road in Phoenix, court documents say.

Police then interviewed a man who described himself as someone who buys and sells cars, court documents show. He told police that he had met with Ruiz and bought Pillado’s car for $100. The man gave police the number Ruiz called him from, which was different from the one being used to call Pillado’s family, court documents say.

Detectives tracked that phone number, which led them to the apartment complex where both Quintero and Ruiz were located and arrested, court documents say.

A murder stemming from owed money, court documents say

After the arrest, Quintero cooperated with detectives, leading to Pillado’s body in an embankment covered in motor oil, court documents say.

He also told police that the idea to kidnap Pillado stemmed from an incident in Mexico when Pillado stole money from Ruiz. After moving to the United States, Quintero told police that Ruiz had come up with a plan to get his money back from Pillado.

Ruiz convinced Quintero to help him after he offered him half of the money they would get from the family, court documents say.

Quintero told police that Ruiz convinced Pillado to come to their apartment on July 21. Once there, both Quintero and Ruiz tied up Pillado and took the photographs and videos sent to his family days later, court documents say.

On July 23, both Quintero and Ruiz placed Pillado in the trunk of his own car and drove to the deserted area near I-17 and Table Mesa Road where they strangled Pillado and threw him down an embankment, they told police, court documents say.

Quintero told police that the following day, on July 24, Ruiz purchased a new phone, which he used to extort Pillado’s family back in Mexico, court documents say.

Both men face first-degree murder, kidnapping, and ransom charges.

Source: AZ Central

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