2 More Charged in Immigrant Deaths
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LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Two more people have been charged in the kidnappings and deaths of four Russian immigrants whose bodies were found floating in a reservoir, authorities said Thursday.
The new indictment charges the man and woman _ and four others previously charged in the case _ with conspiracy to take hostages resulting in death and hostage taking resulting in death.
The immigrants found in the Melones reservoir in March were suffocated before their bodies were dumped, authorities said.
``The crimes were particularly heinous,″ said Assistant U.S. Attorney Carole Peterson. ``They killed the victims after they received the ransom money. It was a very violent and painful death.″
Iouri Mikhel, 36, Jurijus Kadamovas, 35, Petro Krylov, 29, and Ainar Altmanis, 42, had originally only been charged with hostage taking.
Altmanis pleaded guilty on June 6. No trial date has been set for the others.
The two people who had not been charged previously were Natalya Solovyeva, 26, and Aleksujus Markovskis, 28. Solovyeva was identified as Kadamovas’ girlfriend.
Prosecutors said all six defendants were in custody, but did not say when Solovyeva and Markovskis were arrested.
Lawyers for the defendants, who are all foreign nationals, could not be located for comment Thursday.
Two other men were charged in March with helping launder $240,000 in ransom money. Both have pleaded innocent.
Peterson said the suspects targeted rich Russian immigrants and abducted two of the victims in hopes of using them to gain access to wealthy friends and business partners.