US dagga shop owner's penis severed: 4 charged

2013-11-09 10:13
Marijuana is weighed and packaged for sale. (Picture: AP)

Marijuana is weighed and packaged for sale. (Picture: AP)

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Los Angeles - Four people have been charged with abducting the California owner of a medical marijuana dispensary, torturing him and cutting off his penis in an attempt to force him to divulge the location of cash they mistakenly believed he had hidden in the desert.

Two of the suspects, Ryan Anthony Kevorkian, 34, and Naomi Josette Kevorkian, 33, were arrested in the central California town Fresno, on Friday, a day after a third defendant, Hossein Nayeri, 34, was taken into custody in the Czech Republic.

Authorities said Nayeri had initially fled the United States to Iran for several months, and was picked up by the FBI in Prague while trying to make an airline connection to Spain to visit family there.

Kyle Shirakawa Handley, 34, the accused mastermind of the kidnapping scheme, has been in custody since he was arrested last October, not long after the crime occurred, police and prosecutors said in a joint statement.

Each of the four is charged with kidnapping, aggravated mayhem, torture and burglary, with a sentencing enhancement for inflicting great bodily injury. All are being held without bail and face a maximum penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

The victim was not identified, but was described as the owner of a lucrative dispensary for marijuana, which is legal in California for medical purposes.

He survived the kidnapping and mutilation ordeal but was hospitalised for an extensive period of time.

Police said the suspects who abducted him fled with his severed penis so that it could never be reattached.

The Kevorkians are expected to be arraigned on Tuesday. Nayeri faces extradition proceedings in Prague. Handley is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on 15 November.
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