Three Florida Men Accused Of Using Airbnb Bathroom As A Torture Chamber In A Kidnapping Scheme Gone Wrong

Published October 19, 2023

The trio allegedly realized they'd grabbed the wrong person when they arrived at the rented location — but decided to torture him anyway

Raymond Gomez And Jeffry And Jonathan Arista

Broward County Sheriff’s OfficeRaymond Gomez, Jeffry Arista, and Jonathan Arista, the three men charged in the kidnapping gone wrong.

Three Florida men are now facing federal charges following a kidnapping that involved the wrong person — and a waterboarding in a local Airbnb.

The men, brothers Jonathan and Jeffry Arista and associate Raymond Gomez, allegedly kidnapped their victim — who was not the person the suspects believed them to be — outside their apartment. As the Miami New Times reported, the suspects then forced their victim into a white Dodge Charger with false police lights, put a blindfold over his eyes, and drove him to their Airbnb in Plantation.

There, according to the arrest affidavit, they claimed the victim owed them money and attempted to extort cash from him. One of the suspects had also been dressed as an officer, including a gold badge and tactical vest.

However, not long after they arrived at the Airbnb, Gomez and the Arista brothers realized they had made a mistake — and kidnapped the wrong person. Unfortunately for the victim, the intended target was their co-worker, so rather than letting their victim go, the kidnappers allegedly decided they could use the situation to their advantage.

According to the affidavit, they then tortured their victim by pointing guns at his head, pressing the tip of a power drill against his skin, and making threats against his life. Then, the three men allegedly waterboarded the victim in the Airbnb’s bathroom by covering his face with “four or five black masks” and pouring buckets of water over him.

The kidnappers eventually learned that their intended target was at the strip club Booby Trap in Pompano Beach. They brainstormed a plan to use their victim to catch the other man. The three men allegedly led their victim back outside and into a black Porsche, which Gomez then drove to the club. There, prosecutors said, they told their victim to lure out the target so they could “arrange to kidnap him instead.”

Booby Trap

Google MapsBooby Trap, the strip club where the three suspects were arrested.

Instead, however, the victim called the police to report a “bomb threat,” hoping to get as rapid a response as possible. His plan evidently worked, as police arrived on the scene around 2 a.m. on Oct. 14.

While police were speaking with the victim, the victim noticed one of his kidnappers, Jeffry Arista, standing nearby and “appearing to record him with a cell phone.” The victim pointed Arista out, and police took him into custody.

According to the affidavit, Gomez attempted to flee the scene in the Porsche but wound up crashing into another nearby car, and police caught Jonathan Arista as he tried to walk away from the scene.

After crashing, prosecutors said, Gomez hid for some time behind a bush, then set off for a bus station. It was several hours before police found him, but when they did, he confessed to investigators that he and the Arista brothers had come up with their kidnapping plot to collect an unpaid debt. Gomez also claimed not to know the intended target.

“Gomez admitted that, after kidnapping the victim at gunpoint and bringing him to the residence, he and the Arista brothers realized that they had kidnapped the wrong person,” the affidavit states.

Per a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office, the Arista brothers made their first appearance in court on Oct. 16, with each facing charges of kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap. If convicted, they face the possibility of life in prison.

Gomez has yet to make his appearance in court, though he faces the same charges and potential sentence.

After reading about this failed kidnapping attempt, learn all about the bizarre and terribly executed kidnapping of Frank Sinatra Jr. Or, check out these 11 murder-for-hire plots that failed spectacularly.

Austin Harvey
A staff writer for All That's Interesting, Austin Harvey has also had work published with Discover Magazine, Giddy, and Lucid covering topics on mental health, sexual health, history, and sociology. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Point Park University.
Matt Crabtree
Matt Crabtree is an assistant editor at All That's Interesting. A writer and editor based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Matt has a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Utah State University and a passion for idiosyncratic news and stories that offer unique perspectives on the world, film, politics, and more.
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Harvey, Austin. "Three Florida Men Accused Of Using Airbnb Bathroom As A Torture Chamber In A Kidnapping Scheme Gone Wrong.", October 19, 2023, Accessed May 25, 2024.