TRENTON – The reputed leader of the Ñetas street gang in Perth Amboy and a second alleged gang member were indicted for their roles in a kidnapping in which a young man was beaten, taken to a motel in Sayreville, and held at gunpoint, Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced. Two other Ñetas members previously pleaded guilty in connection with the December 2009 kidnapping.
Investigators believe that Danni Rivera, 28, of Rahway, the alleged leader of the Ñetas in Perth Amboy, ordered three other defendants to kidnap the 18-year-old victim from a house in Perth Amboy on Dec. 5, 2009. The victim was beaten and held at a motel in Sayreville, where he was threatened at gunpoint.
“We charge that Danni Rivera ordered this brutal abduction as a leader of the Ñetas in Perth Amboy,” said Dow. “If convicted of kidnapping, he would face a sentence of up to 30 years in state prison.”
According to Taylor, Rivera and David Santana, 21, of Perth Amboy, were charged in a state grand jury indictment with kidnapping (1st degree), conspiracy (2nd degree) and aggravated assault (2nd degree). Santana was also charged with unlawful possession of a weapon (2nd degree), possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose (2nd degree) and terroristic threats (3rd degree).
The indictment, which was returned late yesterday afternoon, supersedes an April 20, 2010 indictment that charged Santana and two other men, Oswaldo Santillan Jr., 20, of Perth Amboy, and Hector Montoya-Garay, 22, of Perth Amboy. Santillan pleaded guilty on May 16 to first-degree kidnapping and faces a prison sentence of up to 30 years, 85 percent of which must be served without parole under the No Early Release Act. Montoya-Garay pleaded guilty on March 18 to third-degree criminal restraint and faces up to five years in prison.
The indictment stems from a joint investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice and the Perth Amboy Police Department, conducted with the assistance of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, Carteret Police Department and U.S. Marshals Service.
“We will continue to work closely with our local, county and federal law enforcement partners to target the leaders of the street gangs that are bringing violence to our communities,” said Taylor. “This was an excellent cooperative investigation.”
The investigation revealed that the victim had gotten into trouble with Rivera. It is alleged that Rivera, as local leader of the Ñetas, ordered the other three defendants to carry out the kidnapping. In pleading guilty, Santillan said that he and Santana ambushed the 18-year-old victim at a house in Perth Amboy on Dec. 5, 2009, forcing him into a van driven by Montoya-Garay. Santillan said that he and Santana beat the victim inside the van and outside at a remote location.
The victim suffered a broken nose, black eyes, cuts and other injuries. Santillan said the defendants then took the victim to a motel in Sayreville, where they held him at gunpoint and threatened to kill him. The victim escaped after Santillan and Santana departed, leaving Montoya-Garay to guard him. The next day, Montoya-Garay falsely reported the van stolen to the Perth Amboy Police Department.
Rivera and Santana are being held in jail, Rivera without bail, and Santana with bail set at $500,000.
The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
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