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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Eight Charged in Connection with North Philadelphia Business Owner Murder-Kidnapping

The victim’s body was found in Cecil County, Maryland

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain announced that eight individuals were charged in an indictment unsealed today with one count each of conspiracy to commit kidnapping.  Seven of those individuals were also charged with the actual kidnapping, and five of the individuals were charged with firearms offenses.  The charges stem from an investigation into the kidnapping and murder of a business owner from North Philadelphia in June 2018, whose body was later found in Cecil County, Maryland.

The indictment alleges that on June 19, 2018, the victim was kidnapped in a home in Philadelphia by seven of the defendants.  During the kidnapping, the victim was restrained through the use of duct tape, hand cuffs, and zip ties.  He was transported to Chester County, Pennsylvania in the course of the kidnapping, and ransom calls demanding hundreds of thousands of dollars were made to the victim’s wife, and to an associate of the victim.  During the kidnapping, the victim was shot and killed, and his body was dumped in Maryland.     

“As alleged in the indictment, these ruthless individuals are a serious threat to the safety of our neighborhoods – not just in Philadelphia, but the entire mid-Atlantic region and beyond,” said U.S. Attorney William McSwain.  “This indictment reflects our Office’s steadfast commitment to rid the streets of people who resort to intimidation and extreme violence to try to get what they want.  This case is also an excellent example of why prosecuting violent crime is a priority for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the entire Department of Justice.  I want to thank our law enforcement partners in Pennsylvania and Maryland for their hard work investigating this heinous crime.”

“Anyone willing to abduct another human being and try to trade their life for money is a danger to society,” said Michael T. Harpster, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Philadelphia Division. “Just imagine the terror of being kidnapped, restrained, and at the total mercy of armed criminals. The FBI will never stop working to make our communities safer from violent thugs who care nothing for the lives of others.” 

Those charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping are: Ivan Rangel Prieto, 34, of Asheboro, North Carolina; Jose Castillo, 44, of Albuquerque, New Mexico; Jose Bernal, 30, of Newark, Delaware; Jose Delgado, 40, of Warminster, Pennsylvania; Salvador Sanchez Guerrero, 47, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Robert Favors, 39, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; John Perkins, 31, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Fermín Perez Mejia, 35, of Norristown, Pennsylvania.

Those charged with kidnapping are: Rangel Prieto, Castillo, Bernal, Delgado, Sanchez Guerrero, Favors, and Perkins.  Those charged with using a firearm in connection with a crime of violence are: Rangel Prieto, Castillo, Bernal, Delgado, and Sanchez Guerrero.

If convicted, Rangel Prieto, Castillo, Bernal, Delgado, Sanchez Guerrero, Favors, and Perkins face a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment.  The statute also provides for the possibility of the death penalty.  If convicted, Perez Mejia faces a maximum possible sentence of life imprisonment.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Philadelphia Police Department, with assistance from the Cecil County, Maryland Sherriff’s Office, the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department, and the Plymouth Township Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Amanda R. Reinitz and Everett Witherell.  U.S. Attorney McSwain and SAC Harpster would like to thank FBI Albuquerque, the New Mexico State Police, the Farmington (NM) Police Department, and FBI Charlotte - Greensboro Resident Agency, for their assistance with this matter.

An indictment, information, or criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Violent Crime
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA Suite 1250, 615 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19106 JENNIFER CRANDALL Media Contact 215-861-8300
Updated May 16, 2019