Metro-East News

He got a free ride to St. Louis, but wasn’t allowed to leave

An East St. Louis man could spend the rest of his life in federal prison after pleading guilty Wednesday to charges in connection with a September 2015 kidnapping.

Damarcus “Mez” Boyd, 31, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to kidnap before U.S. District Judge Ronnie White. He was one of three people charged after an incident that police said involved marijuana. According to the indictment in his case, Boyd, Ortega Mitchell, 26, and Darius Rose, 31, conspired to lure a man from San Diego in a marijuana transaction. The three planned to kidnap the victim and hold him for ransom, police said.

According to the indictment, the victim arrived in St. Louis from San Diego on Sept. 25, 2015, using an airplane ticket that had been purchased by Mitchell. Police said Boyd and Mitchell were given a ride to St. Louis to pick up the victim. After stopping for a meal, the men went to a residence in Illinois.

When the victim entered the house, Rose, wearing a ski mask, pointed an assault rifle at the victim. Police said Rose and Mitchell ordered the victim to the floor and stole the man’s wallet and other belongings while Boyd bound the man’s hands and feet.

Police said the man was held at the house in Illinois for several days. During that time, Rose contacted the victim’s family in California and demanded a ransom of $100,000 and marijuana. Police said those calls were made at Glenfield Apartments in Overland, Mo. The victim’s family contacted police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation became involved.

On Sept. 30, 2015, Rose, Mitchell and Boyd, drove the victim from the Illinois residence to the area of Columbia and Hampton in St. Louis. The man was ordered out of the vehicle and told not to look back. The victim walked to a gas station and called his family to let them know that he had been freed.

Mitchell also has pleaded guilty in his case, while Rose is still waiting trial. Boyd’s sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 8.

Don O'Brien: 618-239-2626, @DOBrienBND