TWO Spanish brothers living in Venezuela were kidnapped and one was released quite quickly so that he could confirm what had happened and deliver the kidnappers’ demand for a ransom of $500,000 (€469,000).
The family initially refused to pay the ransom and complained to the Guardia Civil in Las Palmas who in turn contacted the Spanish Embassy in Caracas and the Venezuelan police asking for assistance in tracking down the culprits.
The brother advised that the kidnappers who were masquerading as Venezuelan police officers, wearing convincing looking uniforms and carrying automatic weapons stopped the car that the pair were travelling in and took them both hostage.
It was after a short period of time that the family started receiving threatening phone calls demanding the ransom money and these calls were followed by the delivery of an amputated finger from the victim.
Working together the officers from the two forces discovered that the threatening phone calls were being made from Tampa in Florida and they alerted the FBI who after tracing the calls arrested a Venezuelan who had a long criminal record in the USA.
Following this arrest, the telephone calls escalated with calls being traced this time to Panama where again, local police traced the person making the calls and arrested him as well.
It turned out that this man was known to be a member of a Venezuelan criminal organisation known as ‘El Tren de Aragua’ which was associated with another violent gang ‘La Banda del Picure.’
Information gained following these arrests led the officers to the place in which the kidnapped man was held and after 38 days of captivity released him, minus one finger and having lost weight, but otherwise in reasonable condition.
According to this individual, he had been under heavily armed guard and kept in a jungle area so was understandably delighted to be rescued.