A call about a guy being beaten in a car parked in a Tustin residential neighborhood, and some follow-up police investigation, led to the discovery of an alleged conspiracy/kidnapping/attempted murder plot by an Arizona drug cartel.
That's the spin from the Tustin Police Department, which claims the complicated case unraveled after the late Friday night assault call.
Here, based on information Tustin Police Lt. Paul Garaven says his agency pulled together after making four arrests, is the order of how things went down:
The male victim did something–like a drug deal gone bad–to get on the wrong side of the unspecified drug cartel, which hired thugs and even a friend of his to kidnap and murder him. The supposed friend, 42-year-old Carlos Lizarraga, had the man meet him in the residential neighborhood near McFadden and Pasadena before they went to a nearby bar to drink. Later, Lizarraga suggested they head back to the neighbor.
But once there, Lizarraga disappeared and three strangers appeared: April Martinez, 23; Juan Siqueiros-Rodriguez, 36; and Pete Tarazon, 51. The woman got behind the wheel of a red sedan while the men, with the help of a 9 mm handgun, forced the victim into the backseat with them.
The men were allegedly assaulting the victim when Tustin Police received a call about the attack in progress around 11:10 p.m. Friday. A officer with the department's gang unit arrived to find a vehicle matching the description with a female driver and, as it was heading down the street, two men assaulting a third in the backseat.
The sedan was pulled over about a half mile from the neighborhood, and Martinez, Tarazon and Siqueiros-Rodriguez were arrested without incident. Lizarraga was taken into custody shortly thereafter. All four were booked into Orange County Jail on suspicion of kidnapping, conspiracy and attempt murder charges. No booking photos are being released at this time, Garaven noted.
The drug cartel's alleged target was taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries and later released, the department spokesman added.
Investigators are still trying to fill in some holes and ask anyone with information to contact Sgt. Brabeck at 714.573.3195.