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Two men charged in Florida for migrant smuggling, ransom scheme

Prosecutors say the victims' relatives were ordered to pay a $10,000 ransom.
Border Patrol agents attend a news conference on May 2, 2019 (File, AP Photo/Eric Gay)

MIAMI — Authorities say two men face federal charges in South Florida for their part in a migrant smuggling operation that involved kidnapping and torturing Cubans and extorting money from victims’ family members.

Records show 41-year-old Reynaldo Marquez Crespo and 33-year-old Jancer Sergio Ramos Valdes made their initial appearances Wednesday in Miami federal court.

A criminal complaint says Valdes and Crespo had arranged to smuggle their victims from Cuba into the United States. Instead, Crespo, Valdes and others transported the victims by boat to Merida, Mexico, locked them in a house and held them captive for ransom.

Prosecutors say family members of the victims were ordered to pay a $10,000 ransom.

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