3 arrested, one at large after armed kidnapping, $200,000 ransom paid

LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- Three men have been arrested after a 27-year-old man was kidnapped at gunpoint from an adult sex store and hundreds of thousands of dollars in ransom were demanded of his family that played out over several days, according to court records released Wednesday.

Court records show Andrew Flores-Paredes was released at a Commerce City ranch early Sunday morning after $200,000 in ransom was left at the front gate.

The Lakewood Police Department began the investigation after the kidnapping was reported but it later involved hundreds of law enforcement officers from several agencies, including the FBI, for nearly a week.

Flores-Paredes was shopping inside adult store Christal's (6401 W. Alameda Ave.) on Aug. 30 when he heard a noise outside.

RELATED: Court documents

A witness told police that Flores-Paredes said, "(expletive), they're coming." Flores-Paredes made a purchase and left the store only to run back inside, using the witness as a shield.

Four men wearing masks stormed the store with guns, including an AK-47-style rifle with a barrel drum-style magazine, police said. One of the suspects tied up Flores-Paredes' wrists with a belt and all five left the store.

The witness inside the store heard what sounded like a gunshot as the suspects and Flores-Paredes left in a red sedan.

Later on the night of Aug. 30, Flores-Paredes' father, Andres Flores-Zapata, received a call asking for $500,000. When he said he didn't have that much money, the call ended. More calls were made but the ransom amount was lowered each time.

On Aug. 31, Flores-Zapata received another call from an alleged kidnapper to demand $200,000 in ransom be paid on Sept. 1 to secure his son's release.

Several more calls were made on Sept. 1 and Sept. 2 with negotiations continuing on how to give the kidnappers the money. The first agreement was the money would be dropped off in a black trash bag on the side of Interstate 70 near Bennett.

According to court documents, FBI agents took the money to the desired location and placed it on the side of the road. The kidnappers were told where the money had been left.

Air surveillance then saw two suspects get out of a vehicle and begin walking around the area for the money. When they couldn't find it, the kidnappers told Flores-Zapata they were angry and were changing the arrangement.

A new plan was to drop the money in front of the family's ranch at 13400 Harvest Road in Commerce City. Agents took the money to the front gate area about 12:35 a.m. Saturday. Air surveillance saw an SUV stop near the gate, with one suspect getting out to retrieve the money.

The SUV drove away but stopped after going a short distance. Two suspects appeared to ditch items in the rural area then drove to 636 Strong St. in Brighton.

The two suspects walked inside, then three or four people walked out and got into the SUV. One of them was later identified as Flores-Paredes.

About 2:20 a.m., a Lakewood detective found Flores-Paredes near the ranch. He was taken to the Lakewood Police Department where he was reunited with his family. Flores-Paredes was not seriously injured.

Investigators used cellphone records, surveillance and DNA to track down the suspected kidnappers. The ordeal was across the metro area, from Lakewood to Commerce City, Brighton and Fort Lupton.

The ransom came from the victim's family and some of it has been recovered, Lakewood police Chief Kevin Paletta said.

Flores-Paredes told police about the encounter, saying he noticed the car in which he was taken in from the adult store had been seen several times near his house.

When he refused to get into the car, Flores-Paredes told police he was punched in the head and body by the kidnappers, and hit with the butt of their rifles.

After getting in the vehicle, a hood was placed over Flores-Paredes' head. He heard the suspects talking about passing grenades to the front and one talked of coming from Southern California "to do this job."

Flores-Paredes was taken to a location for about a day and a half, then another spot where he stayed until he was dropped off at the ranch.

The reason for the kidnapping plot involving the family is not completely known, according to court records.

One of the alleged kidnappers, 22-year-old Raymundo Maldonado-Salgado, said his brother Osmar worked on the ranch and knew the family. Raymundo and his other brother, Jonatan Maldonado-Salgado, also knew the family.

Raymundo told investigators that Flores-Zapata is a family member who "had a major conflict regarding the horse industry that led to the kidnapping plot," according to court documents. Raymundo told investigators the plan was in place for four to five years.

On Monday, agents searched a Fort Lupton location associated with the kidnapping and arrested the Maldonado-Salgado brothers.

Court records indicate an AK-47, one grenade, masks, drum magazines, a tactical vest and at least $60,000 in cash were recovered. More cash was later found in other locations.

Police said the victim's younger brother was the original subject of the kidnapping plot the week before but it was not successful. The alleged kidnappers then moved on to Flores-Paredes.

Another suspect, Hernando Aguilar-Banuelos, is accused of repeatedly changing his story with police. He originally denied helping because "he is too kind hearted and does not have the stomach for such things."

The Maldonado-Slagado brothers and Aguilar-Banuelos appeared in Jefferson County court on Tuesday. They are facing charges of first-degree kidnapping and are being held without bail. They could be sentenced to life in prison without parole if they are convicted.

A warrant for Marco Cota-Tamaura has been issued. He is considered armed and dangerous, and has ties to Nevada, Mexico and Texas. He's described as 5-foot-8 and weighing about 210 pounds. He has brown hair and eyes, and tattoos on the inside of both forearms.

Paletta declined to say at a news conference if the suspects have any links to cartels.