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Men sentenced in drug dealer's kidnapping

ATLANTA - On Tuesday, three men who kept a delinquent drug dealer chained up for a week in the basement of a Lilburn home were sentenced to federal prison.

Victor Abiles Gomez, 20, Omar Mendoza-Villegas, 19, and Gerardo Solorio Reyes, 23, pleaded guilty in March to kidnapping and related charges stemming from the July 2008 incident.

Federal authorities said the men, all illegal immigrants from Mexico, repeatedly threatened and beat 31-year-old Oscar Reynoso, a Dominican Republic native who had most recently lived in Rhode Island, in efforts to collect a $300,000 drug debt.

United States Attorney David E. Nahmias said the case demonstrates inherent dangers in drug dealing.

"Fortunately, this violent episode did not spill over to innocent members of our community," he said.

According to Nahmias, local and federal authorities staked out the residence at 755 East Fork Shady Drive after receiving a tip about a possible hostage-taking. Agents were able to arrest the three men and rescue a bound and gagged Reynoso, who they found "severely dehydrated and badly beaten," Nahmias said.

Inside the home, located in a middle-class neighborhood, they found flex cuffs and firearms, including an assault rifle.

Reynoso told agents he had been lured to Atlanta from Rhode Island to purchase a vehicle from a man he knew as "Tio." After meeting at a nearby restaurant, authorities said, both men rode to the East Shady Fork Drive home where Reynoso was ambushed by eight armed men and chained to a mattress. During the ordeal, captors contacted Reynoso's friends and family in Rhode Island in attempts to collect the debt.

Gomez and Mendoza-Villegas were sentenced to 24 years and six months in prison while Reyes is to serve 26 years, seven months. All three men are to be supervised for five years after their release.

Reynoso is currently serving nearly four years in federal prison for conspiring to possess and distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine.

Federal authorities said "Tio" is still at-large.