Pasadena man sentenced to more than 16 years in prison for his role in murderous Santa Ana car dealership kidnapping – press enterprise

LOS ANGELES – A man who participated in the fatal kidnapping of a Santa Ana man from a Los Angeles-area mall was sentenced Friday to more than 16 years in federal prison.

Anthony Valladares, 29, of Pasadena, was sentenced a year after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to kidnap Ruochen “Tony” Liao from Santa Ana. He was sentenced to 16 years and three months and ordered to pay $ 33,090 in restitution, the US attorney’s office said.

Liao, a Chinese national, owned a car dealership in Southern California that sold high-end cars such as Porches and Bentleys.

Prosecutors said two Chinese men arranged for his kidnapping on July 16, 2018 from a parking lot at a suburban San Gabriel mall. Liao was lured into a minibus.

Prosecutors argue that Valladares was hired as a “muscle” for the kidnapping.

Liao’s parents in China received ransom demands of $ 2 million and were ordered to deposit the payment into Chinese bank accounts, court documents show.

However, the money was not paid, authorities said.

Liao was severely beaten and shocked several times with a stun gun during the kidnapping. He was reportedly held in a closet at a house in Corona and died the day after the kidnapping.

He was buried in the Mojave Desert. But his remains were eventually found and identified.

Alexis Ivan Romero Velez, 25, from Azusa, the driver of the van, has also been charged. He pleaded guilty in 2019 to conspiracy to kidnap and is awaiting conviction.

Two Chinese citizens who lived in West Covina – Guangyao Yang, 28, and Peicheng Shen, 35 – are being held in China on kidnapping charges, the US prosecutor’s office said.

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