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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 31, 2018

Federal Grand Jury Files Superseding Indictment in Case Charging Mariah Ferry and Chase Smothermon that Adds Third Defendant and Kidnapping Resulting in Death Charge

ALBUQUERQUE – A federal grand jury sitting in Albuquerque, N.M., has filed a superseding indictment in the federal case charging Albuquerque residents Mariah Ferry, 20, and Chase Smothermon, 30, with conspiracy and kidnapping charges.  The superseding indictment adds Albuquerque resident Jose Torrez, 46, as a third defendant and charges him with the conspiracy and kidnapping offenses in the original indictment.  It also adds a new kidnapping resulting in the death charge against all three defendants.

The original two-count indictment, filed on March 28, 2018, charged Ferry and Smothermon with kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap.  The kidnapping count alleged that Ferry and Smothermon kidnapped a victim identified by the initials “M.T.” on Aug. 8, 2017, in Bernalillo County, N.M.  The conspiracy count alleged that on Aug. 8, 2017, Smothermon invited the victim to his residence where Ferry bound the victim’s hands and feet, and Smothermon and others physically assaulted the victim. 

The three-count superseding indictment, which was returned under seal on May 29, 2018 and unsealed earlier today, charges Ferry, Smothermon and Torrez with conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping resulting in death, and kidnapping.  The conspiracy count alleges that from Aug. 6, 2017 to Aug. 9, 2017, in Bernalillo County, N.M., Ferry, Smothermon and Torrez participated in a conspiracy to kidnap victims identified by the initials “J.S.” and “M.T.”  The conspiracy count alleges the kidnapping of “J.S.” resulted in his death, and includes 16 overt acts allegedly committed by the defendants in furtherance of the conspiracy.

The second count of the superseding indictment charges Ferry, Smothermon and Torrez with kidnapping resulting in the death of “J.S.” on Aug. 8, 2017, in Bernalillo County.  The third count charges the three defendants with kidnapping “M.T.” on Aug. 8, 2017, in Bernalillo County.

If convicted on the conspiracy to kidnap or the kidnapping resulting in death charge, the defendants each face a statutory maximum penalty of life imprisonment or death.  If convicted on the kidnapping charge, the defendants each face a statutory maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Arraignment hearings on the superseding indictment are scheduled for Monday, June 4, 2018 as to Ferry, and Tuesday, June 5, 2018 as to Smothermon.  An arraignment hearing for Torrez has yet to be scheduled.

Ferry is in federal custody based on the original indictment.  Smothermon and Torrez currently are in state custody, and will be transferred to federal custody to face the charges against them.

Charges in indictments are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are found guilty in a court of law.

The Albuquerque offices of the DEA and FBI are leading the ongoing investigation into this case with assistance from the Albuquerque Police Department and the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office.  The Narcotics Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico is prosecuting the case.

Topic(s): 
Human Trafficking
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated May 31, 2018