Three arrested in cartel-linked ‘ransom drop' at Fort Worth Home Depot

FORT WORTH -- Three men accused of trying to collect money in a kidnapping and extortion scheme involving a fourth man who claimed ties to a Mexican cartel were arrested last week during a “ransom drop,” according to court documents.

Fernando Cabrera, 21, Nygul Anderson, 19, and Albert Gonzalez, 18, remained in custody this week on federal charges of conspiracy to possess extortion proceeds, the U.S. attorney’s office announced Monday.

A juvenile also arrested during the drop was named in a criminal complaint, but he has not been charged.

Cabrera, Anderson and Gonzalez had traveled from the McAllen area in South Texas to pick up $100,000 from the victim, a North Richland Hills man who had been receiving threatening calls from a Mexican phone number demanding the money, the complaint said.

The caller, who was not named in the complaint, first called the victim on Sept. 22 and said that the victim’s two brothers in Mexico had been kidnapped and were being held for ransom. The caller demanded $300,000 before lowering the demand to $40,000 and then to $20,000, the complaint said.

When the victim agreed to pay the money, the caller told him to leave it by a dumpster at a 7-Eleven store in north Fort Worth, near Interstate 35W and Heritage Trace Parkway. The victim dropped the money and then received another call informing him of his brothers’ location.

Relatives in Mexico went to the location and found the brothers tied up in a motel room.

On Sept. 29, the victim received another call from the same man, who demanded $100,000 “or else they would kidnap [the victim’s] brothers again and kill them,” the complaint said.

The caller told the victim that he works with the Mexican police and the Jalisco cartel. The caller gave him until Friday to make another ransom drop, the court documents said.

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