A man named by authorities as a figure in the drug-ring kidnapping of a 6-year-old valley boy was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury, a U.S. attorney’s office official said.
No arraignment date was set for Jose Luis Lopez-Buelna, 48, on a federal charge of being a deported alien found unlawfully in the United States, said Natalie Collins, spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Gregory Brower.
The charge keeps Lopez-Buelna in federal custody following his release from state custody last week. He spent more than a week in the Clark County jail following his Oct. 17 arrest by police investigating the Oct. 15 abduction of first-grader Cole Puffinburger.
The boy became the focus of Nevada’s longest Amber Alert and an intense search in neighboring states before he was found unharmed late Oct. 18 on a Las Vegas street.
Las Vegas police characterized the abduction as a message from methamphetamine traffickers to the boy’s grandfather, Clemens Fred Tinnemeyer.
Tinnemeyer, 51, and his girlfriend, Terri Lynn Leavy, 42, were arrested last month in Southern California and were being held by federal authorities in Las Vegas pending a Nov. 17 preliminary hearing on federal racketeering charges.
Federal prosecutors allege Tinnemeyer stole millions of dollars in drug money from a U.S.-Mexico smuggling operation using a hidden compartment in a recreational vehicle.
Lopez-Buelna is named in the complaint against Tinnemeyer and Leavy as one of two men from whom Tinnemeyer and Leavy are alleged to have stolen $300,000 to $400,000 in drug money.
Police have identified Lopez-Buelna as an illegal immigrant and convicted drug trafficker.