Kidnapping suspects now face federal charges

L to R: Castro-Villeda, Ceja-Renjal, and Fuentes-Morales (provided)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Three men charged last month with kidnapping in what investigators call an international plot have been indicted on federal charges.

The suspects, 26-year old Juan Manual Fuentes-Morales from Mexico, 57-year-old Ruben Ceja-Rangel of Mexico, and Luis Castro-Villeda of Garland North Carolina were all charged in a five-count indictment according to a release from U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles.

The FBI arrested the men in July after rescuing a 23-year-old St. Matthews man in North Carolina six days after he was kidnapped.

Agency officials said the victim was kidnapped on July 9 and the kidnappers began making demands to the victim's family.

A federal grand jury in Columbia charged all three men with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, substantive kidnapping, hostage taking for ransom, and two counts each for brandishing a firearm in furtherance of crimes of violence.

The court's ruling means each man faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment on each of the five charges and a maximum fine of $250,000 on each charge of the indictment.

FBI investigators said the kidnapping was an elaborate plot with overseas ties. Agents have said that more arrests are likely.