Mexican YouTuber kidnapped woman and demanded Bitcoin ransom

A YouTuber who kidnapped a woman in Mexico and demanded her ransom in Bitcoin has been sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Germán Loera, 25, who describes himself as an entrepreneur, was part of a gang of six who grabbed a 33-year-old lawyer off a street in Chihuahua City and bundled her into a car.

Thania Denisse was taken to a house rented by Loera, who demanded 2 million pesos (£80,500) in Bitcoins for her release.

Police rescued the lawyer two days later and managed to arrest four of the culprits.

Chihuahua district attorney Cesar Peniche told local media Loera was ‘a very experienced person in internet communication’ who tried to direct the kidnapping negotiations online.

But Mr Peniche added that ‘on the issue of Bitcoins, even if it is a novel instrument, it is also traceable in the end’, and that the kidnappers’ digital footprint allowed police to find them.

It was later revealed that Loera’s father had been beheaded and his body thrown outside a funeral home just a few weeks before the YouTuber hatched his plan.

Prosecutors told local media that he and four other people whose headless bodies were taken to the same place had been involved in bloody clashes between members of the Sinaloa Cartel and the Juarez Cartel.

Authorities found no connection between the murder and Ms Denisse’s kidnapping, according to Spain’s El País.

Loera has tens of thousands of social media followers and racked up almost 400,000 views on his motivational videos, some of which came after his arrest made him notorious in the Mexican media.

One of his most popular videos features a keynote speech he gave to the 2017 World Congress of Young Leaders for Peace, organised by a pan-American human rights organisation.

In the video description, he writes: ‘If you can’t find your dream job, create it and share it with a team!’

He also claimed to be CEO of a marketing and design company, although its website describes a dental prosthetics company and there is no evidence of him having any employees or clients.

A company Loera claimed to have done business with said after his arrest that it had nothing to do with him or his brand.

His social media profiles are now littered with comments calling for him to be punished or trolling him after his arrest and conviction.

A few weeks before his kidnapping, he wrote: ‘If 2017 was excellent, imagine what awaits us for in 2018, amigos!’

Daniel Hernández commented on the post on Tuesday: ‘The surprise of 2020 was better.’

Prosecutors said the 25-year-old masterminded the operation while his five co-accused carried out the kidnapping.

Those convicted alongside him were Jassiel Omar Molina Ceballos, Jesús Adrián Mendoza Pérez, Edgar René Subías Rubalcaba, Jesús Arnulfo Ochoa Martínez and Juan Alfonso Puerta Holguín.

In addition to their jail sentence the group must also pay a 500,000 peso (£20,000) fine.

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