Man Convicted of Kidnapping, Torture of Local Marijuana Dispensary Owner

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A man convicted this month of carrying out a grisly plot to kidnap and torture a marijuana dispensary owner from Newport Beach in 2012 could spend the rest of his life behind bars, prosecutors say.

After four days of deliberation, an Orange County jury convicted Hossein Nayeri, 40, of two felony counts of kidnapping for ransom and one felony count of torture. Jurors found that a sentencing enhancement allegation of inflicting great bodily injury was false. The jury also deadlocked on a count mayhem.

Hossein Nayeri
— Photo courtesy OCSD

The former U.S. Marine turned pot grower, who grabbed headlines after escaping from the Orange County jail, faces a maximum sentence of two life sentences in state prison without the possibility of parole during a sentencing hearing on Oct. 11.

“Unfortunately there are people who live amongst us who are so evil and depraved that they must be caught and held accountable for their heinous crimes,” District Attorney Todd Spitzer wrote in a prepared statement. “Nayeri is manipulative, sadistic, egotistical, narcissistic and very smart, which made him an incredible danger.”

Nayeri and co-conspirators Ryan Kevorkian and Kyle Handley, disguised as construction workers, snuck into victim’s Balboa Peninsula home on Oct. 2, 2012, prosecutors say. They falsely believed the the dispensary owner had buried $1 million in the Mojave Desert.

The kidnappers terrified the dispensary owner and his landlord’s girlfriend before they were zip-tied, gagged, blindfolded, and loaded into a van, prosecutors say. During a hours-long drive to the Mojave Desert, prosecutors said the dispensary owners was beaten with a rubber hose, shocked with a taser, and burned. After the van stopped on a dirt road, the dispensary owner was held down as at least one of the men taunted him in a sing-song refrain before cutting off his penis.

After the kidnappers drove off, the dispensary owner’s housemate found a knife they tossed in the sand and cut herself free. A highway patrolman later found her walking on a remote section of Highway 14.

In July 2018, Handley was sentence to life in prison after a jury convicted him of two felony counts of kidnapping for ransom, one felony count of aggravated mayhem and one felony count of torture.

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