ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Mariah Ferry, 21, and Jose Torrez, 47, of Albuquerque pleaded guilty in federal court in Albuquerque today on charges relating to the kidnappings and and brutal assaults of two victims suspected of stealing drugs and money from the home of co-defendant, Chase Smothermon, 32, of Albuquerque. Ferry pleaded guilty to kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap, resulting in the death of J.S. Torrez pled guilty to conspiracy to kidnap, resulting in the death of J.S. On Jan. 24, Smothermon pleaded guilty to kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap, resulting in the death of J.S.
A grand jury previously returned a second superseding indictment on April 24, 2018, charging these three defendants with kidnapping, kidnapping resulting in death, and conspiracy to kidnap.
According to the defendants’ plea agreements, Smothermon, Ferry, Torrez, and other co-conspirators took part in a scheme to retaliate against two victims who they believed stole marijuana from Smothermon’s home where he resided with Ferry. On Aug. 8, 2017, Torrez alerted Smothermon that one of the victims, J.S. was present at Torrez’s home. Smothermon went to Torrez’s home to retaliate against J.S. and try to get his drugs and money back. Ferry drove Smothermon to Torrez’s home where Smothermon and co-conspirators brutally beat J.S. with a baseball bat and the butt of a gun.
Smothermon and co-conspirators then put J.S. in the trunk of Ferry’s car and bound J.S.’s hands, ankles, and mouth with tape. Ferry drove Smothermon and J.S. to another co-conspirator’s home where J.S. died shortly thereafter. Ferry and Smothermon then mutilated J.S.’s body in a shed.
Later the same day, Smothermon contacted M.T. under a ruse that Smothermon wanted to buy marijuana from M.T. When M.T. arrived at Smothermon’s home, Smothermon, Ferry and others bound, gagged and assaulted M.T. for hours. After several hours, two other co-conspirators escorted a bound and badly beaten M.T. out of Smothermon’s home and drove him to another location where M.T. was held overnight before M.T. was released.
On Aug. 9, 2017, Ferry drove Smothermon and another co-conspirator to a rural area in New Mexico where they buried J.S.’s body in a shallow grave.
Ferry, Torrez, and Smothermon are in custody awaiting sentencing. They face up to life in prison for each offense. However, under the terms of their plea agreements, should the sentencing court accept their plea agreements, Smothermon will receive a sentence between 40 to 60 years, Ferry will receive a sentence between 30 to 40 years, and Torrez will receive a sentence of 14 years.
The DEA and FBI investigated this case with assistance from the Albuquerque Police Department and Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office. The Narcotics section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the case.