A grand jury has indicted five people accused of selling drugs and kidnapping a 17-year-old Utah boy.
The boy was taken to force his mother to pay at least $10,000, according to documents in the case. Police had earlier seized $20,000 in heroin from the mother when she was stopped while traveling to Utah from Minnesota.
The kidnapping happened in West Valley City on Aug. 13, the indictment says. A news release issued Friday by the U.S. attorney for Utah said law enforcement recovered the boy unharmed.
The defendants belong to a drug ring operated from Phoenix to Salt Lake City, the news release said. They wanted the boy’s mother to reimburse them for the heroin taken from her and for drugs taken from another member of the organization.
Prosecutors allege three of the defendants surveilled a West Valley City business owned by the mother for two days before taking her son. The suspects then demanded at least $10,000, saying the teen would be returned unharmed if the money was paid. The suspects also sent short videos from inside the mother’s truck demonstrating they had stolen it.
A criminal complaint says the defendants talked about shooting the teenager. They took him to a motel in Midvale. Documents don’t specify how, but that’s where FBI agents, the Utah County Major Crimes Task Force and detectives from West Valley City found three of the suspects and the boy.
All five suspects have been charged with crimes ranging from kidnapping to drug trafficking to money laundering. The three arrested at the motel remain in custody pending trial. Arrest warrants have been issued for the other two.