SALT LAKE CITY — An Arizona woman who helped drug traffickers kidnap a 17-year-old boy from his mother’s Utah business while trying to collect a heroin debt from her is headed to federal prison.
A U.S. District Court judge sentenced Nadia Carolina Avalos, 34, of Phoenix, to nine years behind bars this week for kidnapping. She will serve three years of supervised release when the sentence ends.
Avalos admitted that she came with others to Utah in August 2018 to collect a drug debt from a woman in West Valley City. After they weren’t able to get the money, a drug trafficker calling from Mexico told them to kidnap the woman’s 17-year-old son.
Two men took the teenager at gunpoint to a hotel room in Murray where Avalos helped keep him.
The victim called his mother and told her he had been taken by people who wanted money from her. She also received a short video of the inside of her truck showing that the kidnappers had also stolen it.
The man in Mexico sent numerous text and voice messages to the mother after the abduction. He made it clear that her son would be released only after he was paid at least $10,000, according to court documents. Police say the kidnappers threatened to kill or harm the teen.
FBI agents, Utah County Major Crime task force detectives and West Valley police were able to find the teenager later that evening at the hotel room and return him home unharmed.
Several other have been convicted and sentenced to prison in the case. The man in Mexico remains a fugitive, authorities said.