July 14, 2024
Victor Medrano, 44, and Eliceo Flores, 36, were sentenced Tuesday in connection with a May 2022 kidnapping that involved two women being held at gunpoint and beaten, prosecutors said

Associates of the Sinaloa cartel were sentenced Tuesday for the kidnapping and beating of two women on behalf of the cartel, prosecutors said.

Victor Medrano, 44, and Eliceo Flores, 36, were sentenced in El Cajon Superior Court to life in prison without parole, and Emily Gonzalez, 33, was sentenced to 24 years and eight months in connection with the May 2022 kidnapping, officials from the District Attorney’s Office said.

A fourth defendant, Julie Soto, 32, is scheduled for trial in December.

Attorneys for the defendants could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday.

On the day of the kidnapping, prosecutors said Soto was searching for two women she believed stole drugs from the cartel. She allegedly contacted Medrano, Flores and Gonzalez about retrieving the stolen items.

Medrano, Flores and Gonzalez forcibly entered the victims’ El Cajon home and forced the two women to leave at gunpoint, prosecutors said. The victims were taken to Medrano’s Chula Vista home and then drugged, threatened and beaten.

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In a statement to the court, one of the victims said she had anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, prosecutors said. It is “truly scary to know that people with these characteristics and mindsets live among us,” she said.

In addition to the kidnapping of the women, the indictment alleged Soto, Medrano and Flores were part of a large-scale drug and gun importation scheme. Medrano referred to Soto as “the big boss” and “the one that takes care of most SD,” prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said messages showed the group was involved in selling AR-15 rifles, ghost guns and drugs, prosecutors said. Other messages said Medrano and Flores made efforts to kidnap, attempt to kidnap, or “take out” several different victims.

“Drug cartels are a serious and violent threat to our community and their criminal networks should not and will not be allowed to operate in our county,” District Attorney Summer Stephan said in a news release.

Medrano and Flores each pleaded guilty last month to two counts of kidnapping for ransom causing bodily harm.

Gonzalez pleaded guilty to two counts of kidnapping and carjacking. Both Flores and Gonzalez also admitted to having a serious felony strike prior.