$30K worth of firearms, ammunition seized during Vidalia extortion arrest

Published 2:40 pm Monday, February 19, 2024

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VIDALIA, La. — A Vidalia man who allegedly threatened and terrorized a family for money has been arrested.

Nathaniel Matus Lopez, 23, was arrested on a warrant Friday at his Charles Street residence after Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated alleged extortion that had been going on for nearly a year.

At least five victims, including school-age children, received death threats unless they paid money and were followed and intimidated at home and in public places, authorities said.

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Lopez is facing charges of extortion, terrorizing and felony theft by fraud.

On Thursday, CPSO began investigating an extortion that had been ongoing for nearly a year, resulting in the victim paying over $160,000 in cash, according to a news release.

The situation began when Lopez allegedly solicited funds from the victim pretending that they would be helping children who were being trafficked near the Mexican border.

After initially giving money for that cause, Lopez allegedly changed the story and convinced the victim that unless they continued to make payments, their entire family would be executed by a drug cartel.

Lopez’s alleged terrorizing actions consisted of shining lasers into the victim’s home at night, threatening to do harm through electronic communication, depicting violence, and following children and intimidating them in public.

During the execution of a search warrant at Lopez’s residence on Friday, authorities seized over $30,000 worth of firearms and ammunition, a 2018 Ford F-150, cash in the form of new $100 bills, bank cards and numerous electronic devices including one that belonged to the victim.

Authorities said all the items were obtained using extorted funds.

This investigation remains ongoing with future arrests and additional charges possible.

Anyone with additional information about this case, or if they are a victim, can contact Detective Stephen Lipscomb at (318) 437-0740 or submit a tip using the CPSO mobile app.