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11/18/2009

North Carolina couple indicted on kidnapping charges

New federal allegations emerge charging 2 with 2009 Mecklenburg County kidnapping conspiracy

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A Charlotte couple was charged in a superseding bill of indictment, filed today in federal court, with a with a criminal count alleging that they conspired to kidnap two minor victims in Mecklenburg County in 2009 following a joint U.S. Immigration and Customs enforcement (ICE) and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department investigation.

According to the indictment, Ruben Garcia-Rosario, 25, and Linda Gonzalez, 21, aided and abetted one another in the attempted kidnapping through the use of cellular telephones and a motor vehicle.

Garcia-Rosario is also charged in three additional counts alleging possession of a firearm by an illegal alien, illegal re-entry into the United States, and use and possession of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.

According to the two new criminal counts in today's superseding indictment, Garcia-Rosario and his wife, Linda Gonzalez, wrote a ransom note that demanded money from the family of two minor victims who, on several occasions, Garcia-Rosario had observed by driving a motor vehicle to an elementary school bus stop in a residential neighborhood in Cornelius, N.C.

The indictment also alleges that the ransom note threatened the killing of the minor victims if the family failed to pay the ransom amount. The conspiracy is alleged to have taken place from about July 2009 until Sep. 29, 2009.

Allegations contained in the indictment reveal that on Sep. 29, 2009, law enforcement authorities apprehended Garcia-Rosario in Charlotte and that at that time he possessed multiple ransom notes, a photograph of the minor victims contained in a cell phone, a loaded FIE .25 caliber semiautomatic pistol, Winchester .25 caliber ammunition, duct tape, latex gloves, two Mexican passports and a ski mask.

Garcia-Rosario is currently in federal custody in Mecklenburg County and is scheduled to make an initial appearance before a federal magistrate judge in Charlotte on Nov. 23. Linda Gonzalez is currently in state custody in Texas and will be brought to North Carolina to face currently pending North Carolina state charges and the federal charges contained in today's superseding bill of indictment.

If convicted, Ruben Garcia-Rosario faces any term of years up to life imprisonment on count three and 20 years in prison on count four. In addition, he faces maximum statutory penalties of 10 years and a $250,000 fine, or both, as to count one; two years and a $250,000 fine, or both, as to count two; and up to life imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, or both, as to count five. Linda Gonzalez faces any term of years up to life imprisonment on count three and 20 years of imprisonment as to count four.

While under the maximum statutory penalties listed above both defendants face maximum imprisonment exposure of up to a life term, it is important to note that any sentence received upon conviction is influenced by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

Courts consult the Federal Sentencing Guidelines in order to determine each defendant's actual sentence. Sentences are based upon a formula which takes into account the severity and characteristics of the offense and each defendant's criminal history, if any.

The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U. S. Attorneys Kenneth M. Smith and Craig D. Randall.

The charges contained in today's superseding indictment are only allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.