Police: Pasco man blackmails assailant

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldJanuary 3, 2014 

A Pasco man who was shot by one of his abductors during a failed kidnapping attempt allegedly tried to blackmail the suspect for $10,000 with a promise that he would skip town before trial.

Ramon Jaimes-Galvez sent his girlfriend in to broker the deal, but he didn't anticipate the suspect's wife calling authorities and helping set up their arrests, according to court documents.

Now, in addition to his own criminal case, Jaimes-Galvez is locked up as a material witness to ensure his testimony at the upcoming trial of Manuel Juan Preciado.

Jaimes-Galvez, 32, pleaded innocent Thursday in Benton County Superior Court to one count of bribe receiving by a witness. The rarely seen charge is a felony.

Jaimes-Galvez was ordered held on $10,000 bail for this case. He's been behind bars in Franklin County jail since Nov. 27 as a material witness, along with a methamphetamine possession charge and warrants.

Jaimes-Galvez allegedly was confronted outside his apartment early Feb. 27 by the gun-toting Preciado and Salvador Garcia.

The two men intended to force Jaimes-Galvez into their pickup and hold him for ransom because he owed Preciado a large amount of money, but the plan went awry when the victim realized what was happening and fought off his attackers, prosecutors said in that case.

Preciado's trial is set to start Wednesday in Franklin County Superior Court. The 36-year-old is charged with first-degree assault with a deadly weapon and attempted first-degree kidnapping.

Garcia, 38, is doing about five years in state prison for his guilty pleas last May to second-degree assault with a deadly weapon and attempted second-degree kidnapping.

Court documents in the Franklin County case show Jaimes-Galvez was in his South Owen Avenue apartment with three others when Garcia knocked on the door. Jaimes-Galvez was outside talking to Garcia when Preciado rushed toward Jaimes-Galvez, got into an argument with him and fired one shot from his .45-caliber pistol, documents said.

Jaimes-Galvez fell to his hands and knees in the grass. Meanwhile, Preciado and Garcia ran to the parked truck, but a couple of witnesses reportedly saw the suspects and said Preciado looked back at the victim and yelled something to him.

Jaimes-Galvez was driven by friends to Lourdes Medical Center in Pasco, which called police at 11:20 a.m. to say a man with a gunshot wound to his shoulder was in the emergency room.

Police then tracked down the suspects after they allegedly were identified by Jaimes-Galvez and the witnesses.

Preciado was in the Franklin County jail awaiting trial on Oct. 29 when a woman went to his house, told Preciado's wife that she knew Jaimes-Galvez and that he wouldn't testify against Preciado if he was paid money, court documents said.

The woman identified herself as "Nicole" and gave a phone number to Julia Preciado, who then contacted the Benton County Sheriff's Office about the visitor.

The woman dropped by the home the next day and reiterated that Jaimes-Galvez "would not testify and would leave town in exchange for $10,000," documents said.

Sheriff's Detective Scott Runge gave Julia Preciado a prepaid cell phone so he could monitor text messages between her and the woman, who was later determined to be Nicole Renee Verdusco.

Runge had Julia Preciado send a text Nov. 7 saying she had $8,600 in cash and could meet up at a Columbia Center Boulevard parking lot.

Verdusco replied "you have my word" that Jaimes-Galvez would not be available to take the witness stand against Manuel Preciado, according to court documents.

In the parking lot, Runge watched as Verdusco got out of a car and met up with Julia Preciado. The wife gave Verdusco an envelope, which appeared to contain cash but actually was shredded paper, documents said.

Verdusco was arrested after she put the envelope in her purse. Corrections officers at the Benton County jail found a glass pipe with residue and a baggie of crystals on her during the booking process.

Verdusco told investigators she was dating Jaimes-Galvez and that he'd asked her to approach Julia Preciado with the $10,000 bribe. She also said Jaimes-Galvez had driven her to the home.

Verdusco, 30, pleaded guilty Dec. 12 in Benton County Superior Court to bribe receiving by a witness and possession of meth.

Sentencing isn't set until March 20. Prosecutors said in the plea agreement that they will recommend a nine-month jail sentence.

Jaimes-Galvez was charged on Dec. 17.

He initially told Detective Runge that Verdusco was an ex-girlfriend and he hadn't seen her in about four months, but after being pushed he eventually admitted driving her to the Preciado home on one occasion, court documents said.

However, Jaimes-Galvez claimed he took Verdusco there because the two women were friends and she wanted to sell some stolen perfume and a jacket, documents said.

His Benton County trial is scheduled Feb. 24.

-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; kkraemer@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service