LAS VEGAS – Two more defendants have been named in a federal cocaine trafficking case stemming from the kidnapping of a 6-year-old boy from his Las Vegas home last October.
A revised indictment unsealed Tuesday in Las Vegas brings to four the number of defendants in the federal criminal case involving the abduction of Cole Puffinburger, U.S. attorney's office in Nevada said.
Prosecutors allege the boy was kidnapped and moved from place to place in a suitcase by drug traffickers trying to find his grandfather, Clemens Fred Tinnemeyer, a courier in their U.S., Mexico and Canada smuggling ring.
Tinnemeyer, 52, and his girlfriend, Terri Lynn Leavy, face separate federal charges. They were accused of making off with some $4.5 million they found hidden in a motor home Tinnemeyer allegedly used to transport drugs in the U.S. and Mexico.
Erik Dushawn Webster, 44, made an initial appearance in the case June 15 in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, according to court records. He is scheduled to appear again July 10 with Jose Luis Lopez-Buelna and Luis Vega-Rubio on charges including conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
Jesus Gastelum, 35, the other new defendant named in the revised indictment, is a fugitive, U.S. attorney's office spokeswoman Natalie Collins said Wednesday.
Lopez-Buelna, 48, and Vega-Rubio, 36, previously pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit child kidnapping. Both are being held in federal custody pending trial.
Tinnemeyer is an unindicted co-conspirator in the revised 10-count indictment. It charges Lopez-Buelna, Gastelum and Webster, all of Las Vegas, with conspiring to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine.
Gastelum also faces conspiracy, kidnapping, hostage-taking and money laundering charges. Webster also faces conspiracy and money laundering charges. Vega-Rubio also faces conspiracy, kidnapping and hostage-taking charges.
Lopez-Buelna faces conspiracy, money laundering and hostage-taking charges.
The drug conspiracy and kidnapping charges carry a possible penalty of life in prison. The money laundering charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
The indictment alleges Lopez-Buelna and Gastelum paid people to buy motor homes in the United States to move cocaine and money between Mexico, Canada and places in Nevada, California, Georgia, Illinois and New York.
The document accuses Lopez-Buelna of heading a search for Tinnemeyer after Tinnemeyer disappeared with $4.5 million he found in a hidden compartment in a motor home. The document alleges Vega-Rubio delivered a threatening note to Tinnemeyer's daughter in Las Vegas before Puffinburger was abducted on Oct. 15. He was found Oct. 18.
The revised indictment also seeks to let the government confiscate more than $3.9 million in cash, several vehicles, a boat and two semiautomatic pistols seized by federal and local authorities in the case.