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3 Florida Suspects Accused of Kidnapping, Waterboarding Strip Club Employee — Even After Discovering They Mistook Him for Coworker: Officials

3 Florida Men Accused of Kidnapping, Waterboarding Wrong Man
Source: Broward County Sheriff's Office

Jeffry Arista, Jonathan Arista and Raymond Gomez (left to right) charged with kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap.

Oct. 19 2023, Published 3:04 p.m. ET

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Three Florida men have been arrested after they allegedly kidnapped a man and then waterboarded him and threatened to kill him — even after they realized they had nabbed the wrong person, according to authorities.

On Oct. 13, Jeffry Arista, Jonathan Arista and Raymond Gomez “forcefully” abducted the victim outside his apartment and then drove him to an Airbnb in Plantation, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.

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Once at the Airbnb, the trio realized “they had abducted the wrong person” and allegedly began assaulting him, officials said.

According to an affidavit obtained by WTVJ-TV, one of the defendants was wearing a police uniform, a ballistic vest and a gold badge on his belt when he forced the victim into a white Dodge Charger.

Another defendant then allegedly drove the vehicle with a police light. While driving to the Airbnb, the two reportedly made the victim wear a head covering and threw his phone out of the vehicle.

The third defendant met the pair and alleged victim at the Airbnb, removed the victim’s mask and asked his name, “implying they had kidnapped the wrong individual,” the affidavit said.

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The men checked the victim’s ID and discovered they had allegedly abducted the wrong person, officials said. The defendants intended to kidnap the victim’s strip club co-worker, according to court documents.

Knowing they had the wrong person, the defendants still reportedly brought the man into a bathroom, covered his face with several black masks and started waterboarding him. They also threatened his life, aiming firearms, Tasers and an electric drill at him, the Attorney’s Office said.

The defendants learned the intended target actually worked at the Booby Trap gentlemen’s club with the alleged victim, so they drove him to the club, officials said.

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The three men “ordered the victim to go into the business and lure out the intended target,” according to the Attorney’s Office.

Once inside the club, the victim instead called law enforcement and officials were able to apprehend the alleged kidnappers.

While talking with investigators, Gomez reportedly said that he and the Arista brothers were taking orders from another individual because the intended victim owed them money, the affidavit claims.

The three defendants were charged with kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap, officials said. They face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

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