PHOENIX - Phoenix police say they rescued a kidnapping victim whose captors threatened to cut off his hands if they didn't get a ransom from his friends.
Phoenix police Sgt. Joel Tranter said the circumstances surrounding the kidnapping suggest that it is tied to human and drug smuggling, and said the kidnapping victim is “probably associated” with smuggling.
The man who was kidnapped, an illegal immigrant whose name was not released, was abducted Saturday after he left his west Phoenix home to go to the store, Tranter said.
Soon after, Tranter said the man’s friends began to get calls demanding a ransom for his safe return. In one of the calls, Tranter said, one of the suspected kidnappers threatened to cut off one or both of the man’s hands if the friends failed to comply.
The friends called police, and on Sunday, investigators found two of the suspects in a parking lot and arrested them.
They learned additional information and found the man who was kidnapped bound and gagged in a closet at a home in east Phoenix. He showed signs of having been beaten but was not seriously injured.
Another person was arrested at that home, and at least one gun was recovered.
Cornelio Vega, 33, Jesus Casas-Sanchez, 25, and Adan Montalban, 36, were arrested on charges of kidnapping and theft by extortion. They also are illegal immigrants.
While the investigation is ongoing, Tranter said the kidnapping appears to mirror hundreds of abductions of drug- or immigrant-smugglers or their family members that occurred last year in Phoenix.
The abductions, which are common in Latin America, have moved across the border into the United States. Last year, 359 such kidnappings occurred in Phoenix, Tranter said.