Cops say Fargo gang member tried to burn tattoos off victim with blowtorch
FARGO - An alleged Latin Kings gang member accused of abducting a man and, with a blowtorch and spoon, burning tattoos off his skin, now faces charges that carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
FARGO – An alleged Latin Kings gang member accused of abducting a man and, with a blowtorch and spoon, burning tattoos off his skin, now faces charges that carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
Alberto Lira Cuellar, 31, has been charged with kidnapping, aggravated assault, committing a crime as a member of a street gang and theft. He was arrested Wednesday night and is now in the Cass County Jail.
Kidnapping, the most serious charge, carries a maximum sentence of 20 years confinement and $20,000 in fines. Aggravated assault carries a maximum sentence of five years and $10,000.
According to a charging document, the victim was also a Latin Kings member, but tried to cut ties with the gang. The document said Cuellar admitted to detectives that he had taken the victim to a south Fargo apartment on Sunday and had punched the victim in the face. The victim, he claimed, had stolen money from him.
On Monday, Cuellar said he tried to remove Latin Kings tattoos from the victim using a spoon heated with a blowtorch. The victim told detectives this was because he wanted to leave the gang. Police confirmed there were burn marks on the victim's left palm and left shoulder.
Cuellar told detectives he didn't think he had kidnapped the victim, but agreed the victim might not see it that way. The victim said he was tied up and there were other people guarding the apartment door to make sure he couldn't leave.
When the victim tried to use his cellphone, it was taken away. Cuellar admitted to detectives he took the phone, removed the victim's contacts and put in his own.
Police found the victim at the Nativity Church, where he had escaped after breaking out a window.
The court set bail for Cuellar on Friday at $20,000 cash.
According to court records, Cuellar has a long criminal record in North Dakota that includes convictions for assault and manufacturing or delivering a controlled substance.