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Costa Mesa man receives 30 years in kidnapping case

Vagan Adzhemyan and his accomplices forced the victim to call friends and family in Russia, demanding $1 million for his release, according to indictment.

February 13, 2012|By Joseph Serna

A Costa Mesa man was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison Monday for his role in a kidnapping and ransom plot that spanned the Southland.

Vagan Adzhemyan, 44, was convicted in 2010 of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and kidnapping. His two partners, Galvin Shaun Gibson, 33, of Mira Loma and Suren Garibyan, 34, of North Hollywood received sentences of 27 years and about 17 years, respectively.

The office of the U.S. attorney's violent and organized crime unit prosecuted the case.

According to the indictment, the men ambushed their victim in an underground parking garage, zapping him in the chest with a stun gun and attacking the victim's friend. During the struggle, the victim's friend accidentally shot the victim before escaping.

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Adzhemyan and the others whisked their kidnap victim away in a van, and over the next few days moved him around Southern California.

The men forced the victim to call friends and family in Russia, demanding $1 million for his release.

Los Angeles police used the phone number the Russian relatives provided, among other evidence, to find the victim at an Ontario town house. Hours before the ransom deadline, SWAT officers stormed the house.

They found the victim still bleeding from his untreated gunshot and guarded by three pit bull terriers. The home was also being used as a massive marijuana grow house.

Adzhemyan was arrested in a Costa Mesa supermarket parking lot after authorities watched him don a disguise and use the victim's ATM card. Police found about 40 cell phones and a fake Armenian passport in his car's trunk.

joseph.serna@latimes.com

Twitter: @JosephSerna

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