4 charged with severing pot clinic owner's penis over buried cash

Victim tortured with blowtorch

a a a a
Share this story

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. - Four people are accused of torturing a California marijuana dispensary owner with a blowtorch and cutting off his penis in an attempt to force him to reveal where he had buried piles of cash in the desert.

The defendants mistakenly believed the victim was hiding money and left him for dead on the side of the road, Orange County authorities said in announcing the case Friday.

Ryan Anthony Kevorkian, 34, and his wife Naomi Josette Kevorkian, 33, were arrested Friday in Fresno, a day after the FBI arrested 34-year-old Hossein Nayeri in Prague in the Czech Republic, the district attorney's office and Newport Beach police said in a joint statement.

Another man, Kyle Shirakawa Handley, 34, was arrested in October of last year.

The four have been charged with kidnapping for ransom, aggravated mayhem, torture, burglary and a sentencing enhancement for inflicting great bodily injury. They were being held without bail and could face up to life in prison without possibility of parole if convicted.

Prosecutors said the victim was a prosperous medical marijuana dispensary owner who took some of his pot suppliers—including Handley—to Las Vegas last year for an extravagant weekend.

After the trip, Handley told some friends that the dispensary owner was extremely wealthy and they came up with a plan to kidnap and rob him, according to the statement.

Four weeks before the kidnapping, the would-be robbers began shadowing the dispensary owner, following him on frequent trips he made to the desert outside of Palm Springs.

He went out to discuss a possible investment deal, but the four thought he was driving there "to bury large amounts of cash," according to the statement.

On Oct. 2, 2012, Handley, Nayeri and Ryan Kevorkian went to the man's Newport Beach home, stole cash, bound and beat him and kidnapped him along with his roommate's girlfriend, then drove them out to a desert spot in a van, authorities contend.

Throughout the drive, they allegedly burned the dispensary owner with a blowtorch.

At the spot where the men believed the victim had hidden his money, they cut off his penis, poured bleach on him in an effort to destroy any DNA evidence and dumped him and the woman on the side of the road, authorities alleged.

The three men then drove away with the penis so that it couldn't be reattached, authorities claimed.

"The woman ran over a mile to a main road in the dark, while still bound with zip ties, and flagged down a police car," according to the statement.

The man survived his injuries.

Handley was arrested after being linked to a car parked outside the dispensary owner's home the time of the attack. A neighbor who was suspicious of the vehicle had taken down its license plate, and Handley was the car's registered owner.

The statement said Handley had unspecified evidence of the crime in his home, and Nayeri was linked to the crime through DNA found on that evidence.

About a week before the attack, Nayeri was accused of refusing to pull over and leading Newport Beach police on a car chase. He crashed the car, ran and evaded capture. Police found surveillance equipment and videos inside the abandoned car, but didn't link the evidence to the attack on the dispensary owner until Nayeri was identified as a suspect.

After the crime, Nayeri fled to Iran, where he remained for several months, prosecutors said. He was arrested in Prague while changing flights from Iran to Spain to visit family, authorities said.

Nayeri was expected to face extradition proceedings.

It was not immediately known whether the Kevorkians and Nayeri had obtained lawyers.

Handley pleaded not guilty to the charges last month.

"It is my hope that by bringing to justice these three additional people it will become clear that Mr. Handley was not involved in this demonic criminal enterprise," said Robert K. Weinberg, Handley's attorney.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More National News
Labor Dept. aims to reduce black lung disease
Labor Dept. aims to reduce black lung disease

The Obama administration said Wednesday it is cutting the amount of coal dust allowed in coal mines in an effort to help reduce black lung disease.

FDA proposes first regulations for e-cigarettes
FDA proposes first regulations for e-cigarettes

The federal government wants to ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels…

GM faces another safety investigation
GM faces another safety investigation

General Motors is dealing with another government safety investigation. This time the car targeted is the 2014 Impala.

Internet TV case: Justices skeptical, concerned
Internet TV case: Justices skeptical, concerned

Grappling with fast-changing technology, Supreme Court justices debated Tuesday whether they can protect the copyrights of TV broadcasters to…

Airport security vulnerabilities not uncommon
Airport security vulnerabilities not uncommon

For all the tens of billions of dollars that the nation has spent on screening passengers and their bags, few airports made a comparable…

Supreme Court upholds ban on affirmative action
Supreme Court upholds ban on affirmative action

The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld Michigan's ban on using race as a factor in college admissions.

Infant found in Detroit home with dead mother
Infant found in Detroit home with dead mother

An infant is fighting for her life after she was left alone with her mother’s dead body for several days.

Netflix poised to raise prices after strong 1Q
Netflix poised to raise prices after strong 1Q

Netflix is preparing a sequel unlikely to be a hit with its subscribers. The Internet video service is about to raise its prices for the…

Grieving borrowers told to repay student loan
Grieving borrowers told to repay student loan

Some student loan borrowers who had a parent or grandparent co-sign the note are finding that they must immediately pay the loan in full if…

Earth Day: 6 ways to be greener right now
Earth Day: 6 ways to be greener right now

In honor of Earth Day, the Environmental Protection Agency has compiled a list of ways to start saving energy not just on April 22, but every day.