November 23, 2011 | 1:23pm
Two men, who could have faced life imprisonment if convicted, were acquitted on charges of kidnapping for ransom Monday.
The jury did, however, find 52-year-old Reynaldo Junior Eid and 57-year-old Alaor Docarmo Oliveira Jr. guilty of lesser crimes for their role in the smuggling of a Brazilian woman and her five-year-old son into the U.S. in 2005.
The jury found them guilty of attempted extortion and false imprisonment, the Orange County Register reports,
and Superior Court Judge M. Marc Kelly
, accordingly, sentenced them to a 4 ½-year jail stint. Since they've both been in custody since 2005, though, they've already served more than enough time. They weren't released Tuesday because of immigration holds, the Register
reports, and they'll now be turned over to federal authorities.
In 2005, a Brazilian man who was living in the U.S. illegally paid a smuggler $14,000 to bring his wife and son to the U.S., according to a news release from the
Orange County District Attorney's Office
. The mom and son went from smuggler to smuggler as they made their way through Mexico and eventually into California.
Once here, Eid and Oliveira picked them up at a Costa Mesa gas station and dropped them off at a hotel. Later that day, they called the woman's husband and demanded that he pay an extra $14,000, the news release says. Then, they told the woman they would take her back to New York, where Eid lives, to work off the "debts," if her husband didn't pay them the extra money. Her husband knew a woman in Orange County and asked her to go to the hotel to check up on them. When she showed up there, she allegedly got into an argument with Eid and then called the police, the news release says. When the police showed up, Eid and Oliveira tried to flee the scene.