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Trial: Kidnapping victim 'cooked' in Mexico

A kidnapping ring is accused of taking its Rio Grande Valley victims to Mexico where they were tortured, held for ransom and in one case -- killed.

The trial for alleged kidnapping ring member Luis Alberto Avila-Hernandez started before U.S. District Court Judge Randy Crane in McAllen on Tuesday.

Several witnesses have testified against Avila-Hernandez, including the relatives of victims and his co-defendant Gerardo Zamora-Espinoza.

The Associated Press reported that Zamora-Espinoza testified that the kidnappings where committed on the behalf of the Mexican Gulf cartel's enforcers.

Zamora-Espinoza told jurors that the body of kidnapping victim Daniel Ramirez, Jr. was "cooked" on a ranch in Mexico.

Court records show that Ramirez was kidnapped from his Country Village Store outside off FM 88 and 13 Mile Line north of Weslaco in August 2008.

A criminal complaint filed against Avila-Hernandez shows that the kidnapping took place because Ramirez refused an offer to work with the Gulf Cartel.

Avila-Hernandez acted as lookout outside the store and helped drive Ramirez to a ranch in Mission where he was held before being taken to Mexico.

The Associated Press reported that Zamora-Espinoza's nephew ran the kidnapping ring.

Zamora-Espinzoa testified that his nephew told him they were "cooking the body" of Ramirez at a ranch in Mexico.

Ramirez was killed even his father had paid $40,000 out of a $100,000 dollars ransom.

But court documents obtained by Action 4 News show that Ramirez was not the only victim.

The group is also accused of kidnapping Antonio Gonzalez in August 2008 where they demanded $30,000 dollars and a vehicle for his release.

The ring also accused of kidnapping victims Sergio Cepeda and Adrian Trevio in September 2008.

The men were held at a home in Mission where one of the ring members hit Trevio's ankles and wrists with a hammer.

The kidnappers are accused of using a rifle to hit Cepeda's genitals.

They held Cepeda for ransom for $40,000 dollars and two vehicles.

The group allegedly kidnapped Sergio Arturo Zepeda during an October 2008 home invasion where they stole cocaine and weapons.

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