A federal jury has found a New York City man guilty in participating in the abduction and killing of two Vietnamese brothers from Philadelphia in 2014.
Jason Rivera, 37, was convicted on counts including conspiracy, kidnapping and extortion on Tuesday following a seven-day trial. Four others connected with the crime have previously been convicted in the years following the brutal killings.
Rivera reportedly aided members of a Vietnamese gang in a kidnapping plot that resulted in the deaths of Vu “Kevin” Huynh, 31, and his brother Viet Huynh, 28.
Vu, who was described as a popular singer in Vietnam, was lured along with his brother to a garage and tortured, as ordered by New York City drug dealer Lam Trieu and former gang associate Tam Minh Le.
Rivera, along with John Dao, 44, and Trung Lu, 41, stripped, tied up and tortured the Huynh brothers for hours over a $300,000 drug debt before they eventually called a third victim named Tan Voong.
The victims were then brought to the river, where they were stabbed multiple times, wrapped with duct tape, weighted down with cement and tossed into the water.
Voong managed to escape after swimming to the surface and seeking help from a passing motorist.
Having survived his injuries, Voong later provided relevant information that eventually resulted in the arrests of the perpetrators.
In his testimony last week, Voong told the jury: “I was on my knees knowing something bad was going to happen. Then I feel I was getting stabbed. After that, it was just the water.”
Rivera, who now faces a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison, was consistently identified by government’s witnesses as one of the henchmen sent by Trieu to Philadelphia.
Trieu, a former ranking member of the Born to Kill gang, testified at the trial last year and pleaded guilty to kidnapping, drug and conspiracy charges. He admitted to reaching out to fellow Born To Kill member Le, 51, to collect the debt the Huynhs owed to their California-based marijuana supplier.
Trieu told jurors he ordered Rivera, Dao and Lu to abduct the Huynhs to force them to pay the debt.
Trieu claimed that his men, Le, and another hired muscle named Minh Nguyen drove the Huynhs to Le’s house in Eastwick to torture them.
Le was sentenced to death, while Dao and Nguyen are facing sentencing in the coming months after pleading guilty to the charges in federal court. Meanwhile, Lu is currently a fugitive believed to have evaded arrest by returning to Vietnam.