Mexican resident accused in federal kidnapping case

A Mexican man was indicted by a federal grand jury on kidnapping and fraud charges on Thursday, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner said.

Martin Carranza-Sanchez, 45, was charged with kidnapping Mexican citizens wanting to enter the United States without documentation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. The 10-count indictment alleged that Carranza-Sanchez falsely represented to U.S. residents that their relatives had been smuggled into the United States.

In five instances involving six victims between December 2010 and November 2015, Carranza-Sanchez held the undocumented immigrants hostage in Mexico, threatened to harm them and, on occasion, did harm them, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Carranza-Sanchez allegedly told the U.S. residents that their relatives would be harmed or killed if he was not paid.

The indictment included conspiracy to commit hostage taking, wire fraud, carrying a firearm during a crime of violence and other charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

He was arrested at the border on Jan. 21 and is currently in federal custody in Fresno.

Carranza-Sanchez faces a maximum penalty of life in prison, if convicted.

Razi Syed: 559-441-6679, @razisyed