Pair face new kidnap trial in immigrant-smuggling case

By VIK JOLLY
11/07/2011 8:28 AM

SANTA ANA – Two men accused of immigrant smuggling – whose conviction in the kidnapping of a Brazilian woman and her 5-year-old son for ransom was overturned on appeal – face a retrial Monday.

Reynaldo Junior Eid, 52, of New York and Alaor Docarmo Oliveira Jr., 57, of Danbury, Conn., are charged with felony counts of kidnapping for ransom and face possible life in state prison if convicted, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

A state appeals court in 2010 granted a new trial after an Orange County jury in 2008 found them guilty of kidnapping.

The 4th District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana ruled that Eid and Oliveira should be given a new trial because a Superior Court judge failed to adequately instruct jurors and answer a question posed by jurors during deliberations.

The husband of the Brazilian woman paid a smuggler $14,000 to bring his family to Florida through Mexico, the District Attorney’s Office said. The victims were passed from one smuggler to another as they made their way through Mexico and across the border into San Diego from Tijuana, prosecutors said.

The mother and son were eventually picked up at a gas station in Costa Mesa by Eid and Oliveira, who contacted the woman’s husband and demanded more money, according to the D.A.’s office. They also threatened to take the man’s wife and child to New York to work off their debt if they didn’t get paid, prosecutors said.

The victim’s husband called a woman in Orange County and asked that she go to the hotel to try to help the victims escape. That woman called police after Eid told her he wouldn’t let the mother and child go until he received more money, prosecutors said.

Officers arrived as the defendants were attempting to flee with the victims.

Contact the writer: 714-834-3773 or vjolly@ocregister.com