TUCSON, Arizona — A bone-headed caper to kidnap a man wanted by a Mexican drug cartel and trade him for bales of marijuana has earned an Arizona woman 14 years behind bars.
Roxanne Marie Carpenter, 54, had plotted with friends in March to hand the man over after he had made off with drugs belonging to the cartel, but the scheme unraveled when he managed to escape unnoticed from the trunk of her car as it crossed the Mexican border.
The victim, who was handcuffed and had his feet shackled and duct tape placed over his mouth, managed to get the attention of Mexican border guards when later alerted their counterparts in the U.S.
But Carpenter didn’t notice he had gotten away and when she met with cartel members in Mexico and they saw her trunk was empty, they took the car and told her to run. She was captured hours later trying to walk back across the border into the U.S. at Naco, Arizona.
Last week, Carpenter was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for what the judge called a “shocking, depraved series of activities” that were “fueled by a lifestyle of substance abuse,” according to the Arizona Daily Star.
Prosecutors had described Carpenter, who goes by the nickname “Rocky,” as the mastermind behind the plan to kidnap the victim, who was known as “Ghost.”
So she recruited a gang of four — Fausto “Zombie” Velazquez, 23, Brian Meyers, 40, and Phoelix “Loki” Begay, 29 — ”to snatch “Ghost” off the street and deliver him to the cartel.
At first, they thought the cartel would give them $37,000 for the man, but the drug gang later offered only a used car. Finally, they agreed to hand over 30 pounds of marijuana in exchange for the man.
Meyers, who knew the man, allegedly lured him to get into a car with the rest. They then drove him to a remote area near Bisbee where they shocked him with a cattle prod and choked him until he passed out. They then bound him, threw him into the trunk and drove to a friend’s house to smoke methamphetamine.
Carpenter was then tapped to drive the man to Mexico because she was the only one not under court-mandated supervision and would likely not raise any suspicions when she came back into the U.S.
Her lawyer said she only got involved in the plan after the kidnapping victim stashed part of the stolen drugs at her house over her objections and that she felt threatened.
“I’m very sorry for being involved in this. I didn’t realize it would get so bad,” Carpenter told the judge. “I didn’t want to end up in a trunk myself.”
Velazquez was convicted along with Carpenter in August and is awaiting sentencing. The other two pleaded guilty and Begay has been sentenced to 11 years.