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Sunnyside men accused of 'cartel-like kidnapping'

PASCO - Two men from Sunnyside are in the Franklin County Jail after what Pasco Police Captain Jim Raymond said was a kidnapping and extortion attempt much like those being committed by the drug cartels.

Alejandro Valle-Vasquez and David Gomez, both 24, were last Thursday arrested by Pasco police after being accused of kidnapping and extorting a Kennewick man. The man, said police, was taken from a home in Pasco.

Raymond said, "It appears they were targeting individuals and telling them they would have to pay to stay alive."

The victim, after having been released by the suspects, provided police with a vehicle description that led to the arrest of Valle-Vasquez and Gomez, both believed to be Sunnyside residents.

The victim told detectives he was held against his will in Sunnyside last Tuesday night after being kidnapped from outside the home of an acquaintance.

He told police the men drove him to a dairy and demanded he pay them or give them the title to his vehicle to keep from being killed.

The victim told detectives, according to Raymond, he was bound and taken to a total of two separate properties.

He said he convinced his captors he would pay them if they released him and the suspects agreed to the terms.

Raymond said once the suspects' car was located, detectives found two assault rifles and evidence related to the kidnapping incident.

The captain said the suspects had a notebook with the victim's name written in it, leading detectives to believe the victim had been targeted beforehand by the two Sunnyside men.

He said Valle-Vasquez and Gomez were in Franklin County Superior Court Friday for a preliminary appearance and the judge presiding over the hearing set bail at $1 million each.

Raymond did not have a date for the suspects' next court appearance.

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