California Man Convicted of Laundering Money for Mexico-Based Kidnapping Ring

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A National City man who laundered tens of thousands of dollars in ransom payments on behalf of a violent Mexico-based kidnapping ring was convicted Wednesday for his role in the scheme, officials said.

A judge found Luis Francisco Murillo Morfin, 33, guilty of conspiracy to launder money at the conclusion of a two-day bench trial, U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement.

The kidnappers targeted two-dozen Mexican nationals in August of 2015, Mrozek said. The kidnapping ring lured them by promising to smuggle them into the U.S.

But the kidnappers then put them in the trunks of cars, drove them through fake border checkpoints and took them to a “stash house” in Tijuana, he said. Once there, “They were threatened, beaten and raped. ”

The ring then contacted the victims’ families in the U.S. to extort money from them, officials said.

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