UPsw 03/19 2234 Four Oklahomans briefly abducted on spring break MATAMOROS, Mexico (UPI) -

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UPsw 03/19 2234 Four Oklahomans briefly abducted on spring break MATAMOROS, Mexico (UPI) -- A Mexican judge Monday denied bond for three people accused of abducting four young Oklahomans during a spring break visit to Matamoros. Judge Manuel Ceballos Jimenez indicated he will decide within three days whether to continue the case or drop the charges against Jesus Rangel Gonzales, 21, the alleged driver; Oscar Garcia Valazquez, 17, and Olga Lidia Castillo, 20, all of Matamoros. In the meantime, the judge upgraded the charges from deprivation of liberty to kidnapping, which carries a possible sentence of 6 to 20 years in prison. By upgrading the charges, the judge effectively denied bond because of a Mexican legal formula in which the maximum and minimum prison terms for a charge are added then divided by two. If the resulting number is greater than five, bail is forbidden. Marland Crabtree, 25, and his brother Darren Crabtree, 19, two University of Oklahoma students, said they were abducted early Friday morning along with Jeff Jones, 21, and a 19-year-old woman, whose name was not released because she was allegedly sexually molested. The four, who admitted they were quite drunk, said they were rescued by police around 4 a.m. At Monday's hearing the suspects said they merely rode around Matamoros drinking beer. They said the Americans could have left the car at any time and denied sexually harassing the 19-year-old woman. "We were just driving around the city drinking beer," Rangel told the judge. The Americans were fined for public intoxication following the incident. Marland Crabtree said that the four were walking toward the International Bridge when they accepted a ride from strangers. As soon as they got in the car, the driver turned it around and sped back into Matamoros. "They drove us all over town going at about 100 mph and running stop signs," Crabtree said. "They offered us drugs and we said no, we don't want any trouble. We told them that what we wanted was to go back to the border." He said the male driver, who spoke English, kept saying, "Hold on. We'll take you to the bridge, but we need to get some cocaine and marijuana first. We didn't know what to do next. Since we had been drinking, we could not think straight. They started to drive us through bad neighborhoods. We were beginning to get really scared." The car later stopped at a house where another man came out and got into the car. That man allegedly molested the 19-year-old woman by fondling her, and then threatened the woman and three men by saying he had a gun. No gun or other weapon was found in the car later when police arrested the three. After the third person got into the car, all seven drove to a warehouse where they parked and the three ordered the four inside. The four refused to go in, and while they argued a police car pulled up nearby, and one of the Americans dashed over to it and told the officer they were being held against their will. Matamoros police officials Monday said they were concerned about the safety and behavior of spring breakers, saying last year's events seemed to have had no effect on them. "They are worse than they were last year," said Enrique Ramos, assistant city police chief. "We've got more of them here and they are breaking all sorts of rules." Last year, 21-year-old University of Texas student Mark Kilroy disappeared in Matamoros. A two-nation search for Kilroy set off a chain of events that led to the discovery of 15 bodies of men said to have been slain by a drug-dealing "satanic" cult. Two to three Americans a day have been booked at the city police station during this year's spring break. The most common violations are public fights and destruction of property, although other violations such as public lewdness and public fornication have been reported.


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