A New Hampshire man was sentenced to 13 years in prison Wednesday for his role in a 2012 kidnapping in Lawrence, federal prosecutors said.
Thomas Wallace, 29, of Raymond, N.H., was charged in connection with kidnapping and home invasion crews referred to as “joloperros,” which loosely translates to “stick-up guys” in the US Attorney’s Office in Boston said in a statement. Those crews, the office said in the statement, were organized, armed, and violent.
In 2014, Wallace pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit kidnapping. US District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns sentenced Wallace to 13 years in prison and three years of supervised release, prosecutors said.
Authorities said Wallace was part of a crew that kidnapped two men at gunpoint on Allston Street in Lawrence. The crew members were armed with firearms and wore shirts had the word “police” emblazoned on them.
The two men were taken to Manchester, N.H., where they were held overnight, prosecutors said. One of them was burned with a hot iron before they were rescued by law enforcement.
Some cooperating defendants told authorities that crime was one of several kidnappings or attempted kidnappings by that crew that year, according to the attorney’s office.
According to a federal investigation, the Lawrence crews would typically kidnap drug dealers for large ransoms that were paid in cash or dugs. They would target dealers because they anticipated such victims not cooperating with police, according to the attorney’s office’s statement. They also sought out dealers because they thought such targets would be subject to deportation or fear reprisals against themselves or their families in Lawrence or in their home country, prosecutors said.
Some kidnapping victims, according to federal authorities, were burned, scarred, or bruised.
The crews used safe houses to stash their victims and would follow their victims using GPS devices, federal authorities said.
Wallace was part of a kidnapping crew that included Danny Veloz, who in August was convicted of orchestrating the Allston Street kidnapping. Veloz is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 16.Danny McDonald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.