Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

UNITED STATES v. VARELA

September 15, 1997

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Salome Varela, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: NORGLE

 CHARLES R. NORGLE, SR., District Judge:

 Before the court are Defendants' Motions to Suppress Post-Arrest Photographic Identifications and Any Tainted Subsequent In-Court Identifications. For the following reasons, their motions are denied.

 I. BACKGROUND

 The indictment in this case charges Defendants, Salome Varela ("Varela"), Miguel Torres ("Torres"), Jesus Ruiz-Sanchez ("Ruiz"), Jose De La Paz Sanchez ("Sanchez"), and Luis Alberto Carreno ("Carreno"), who is presently a fugitive (collectively "the captors"), with various federal offenses. (Gov't Santiago Proffer at 2.) The Government states that its evidence at trial will show that the captors were "enforcers" for drug-traffickers. Id. The captors kidnapped four individuals who allegedly owed, or was related to someone who owed, debts arising from cocaine trafficking. Id.

 The Government states that three of the victims, "Victims A, B, and C," will testify at trial and will describe their kidnappings. The fourth victim, Jaime Estrada ("Estrada"), was shot in the stomach; he later died from his gunshot wound and lack of timely medical treatment. The family members from whom the captors allegedly demanded ransom money will also testify at trial. Id.

 Victim A will allegedly testify as follows. Id. at 7. Sometime in May of 1996, two Mexican individuals, who have not been indicted, asked Victim A to assist them in locating another Mexican individual, Mauricio Garza, also known as "Victor." Id. The two Mexican individuals told Victim A, who distributed cocaine on behalf of Victor, that Victor owed them $ 100,000 for cocaine; they also told Victim A that he would be held accountable if he did not locate Victor. Id.

 On June 15, 1996, after failing to locate Victor, the two Mexican individuals led Victim A to a blue and white van. Id. Two men from the van then forced Victim A into the van. Id. Once inside the van, Victim A saw a third individual. Id. Victim A has identified Torres, Ruiz, and Sanchez as the three men inside the van. Id. Torres, Ruiz, and Sanchez then took Victim A to the basement of a house, which Victim A will identify as the "Newland House," and restrained him with duct-tape to a support pole. Id. at 8.

 During his captivity, Torres, Ruiz, Sanchez, or Victim A at the captors' direction, made several phone calls to Victim A's brother, sister, and wife, in order to collect some ransom money. Id. Victim A's wife first delivered two cars with the appropriate papers as ransom payments. Id. at 9. The captors were not satisfied; thus, Victim A's wife delivered another car. Id. After picking up the cars, the captors complained about the value of the cars and beat up Victim A. Id. at 10.

 On what Victim A understood to be June 29, 1996, Sanchez called Victim A's wife in Victim A's presence. Id. at 11. At that time, Victim A's wife informed Sanchez that the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") had been to her home and asked her some questions. Id. Thereafter, Victim A freed one of his hands from the duct-tape restraint and escaped from the Newland House through a side door. Id.

 Victim B will allegedly testify as follows. Id. at 12. On June 21, 1996, five young Mexican individuals kidnapped him in front of his home. Id. After they forced Victim B into a blue and white van, they told him to lie face down and not to look in any direction or say anything. Id. Victim B has identified Varela, Torres, and Ruiz as three of the five men inside the van. Id. Victim B will also identify the van as the same blue and white van that Victim A identified. Id.

 Following his abduction, the captors took Victim B to the basement of a house, which Victim B will identify as the "Newland House." Id. Victim B saw another individual in the basement who was restrained with duct-tape; Victim B will identify Victim A as that individual. Id. The captors then restrained Victim B with duct-tape and informed him that they kidnapped him because his son owed them $ 20,000 for a kilogram of cocaine. Id.

 During Victim B's captivity, the captors directed him at gunpoint to stand against a wall so that they could photograph him with a video-camera. Id. at 13. The captors also questioned Victim B on several occasions regarding his family's ability to pay ransom for his release, and called, or directed Victim B to call, his wife for ransom money. Id. at 14.

 Victim C will allegedly testify as follows. Id. at 15. In 1995, Victim C distributed cocaine to various individuals. Id. A Mexican individual, known to Victim C as Tony, supplied Victim C with multiple kilograms of cocaine. Id. Victim C owed Tony $ 130,000 for cocaine because Victim C's customers did not pay him. Id.

 On June 22, 1996, Tony went to Victim C's home to discuss Victim C's debt. Id. While the two were walking outside Victim C's home, a blue and white van pulled up. Id. Tony ordered Victim C to go with the men inside the van and stated that he would be required to repay his debt. Id. Once inside the van, Victim C saw four or five Mexican individuals. Id. The captors directed him to lie face down and not to look around or say anything. Id. at 16. Victim C has identified Varela, Torres, Ruiz, and Carreno as the men inside the van. Id.

 The captors took Victim C to the basement of a house, which Victim C will identify as the Newland House. Id. As Victim C entered the basement, he saw two individuals restrained with duct-tape; Victim C will identify these individuals as Victims A and B. Id. Victim C was similarly restrained. Id. Afterwards, the captors directed Victim C at gunpoint to stand against a wall so that they could photograph him with a video-camera. Id. During his captivity, the captors directed Victim C to call his ex-wife for ransom money. Id. at 16-17.

 On June 29, 1996, the FBI arrested Varela, Torres, and Ruiz. Id. at 18. The FBI were investigating the kidnapping of Estrada and surveilling a ransom delivery in that case; Varela, Torres, and Ruiz arrived to pick up the ransom delivery. Id.

 On June 30, 1996, Victims B and C overheard the remaining captors discuss the arrests and the need to relocate Victims B and C. Id. at 14-15, 17. The captors then directed Victims B and C out of the Newland House at gunpoint. Id. at 14-15. Once outside, Victims B and C ran from their captors when they saw a neighbor appear on the porch next door. Id.

 Thereafter, the neighbor called the Chicago Police; officers arrived on the scene and took Victims B and C to the Area Five police station for questioning. (Gov't Resp. at 17.) Following the standard kidnapping procedure, the Area Five officers advised the FBI of the incident. Id. at 18. Special Agents Sharon Slattery and Kevin Cassiday of the FBI arrived at Area Five and participated during Victims B and C's interviews. Id. Although Agents Slattery and Cassiday were also investigating the Estrada ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.