Thursday, March 01, 2007

The story of a young boy's abduction is taking many immigrants back to the lawlessness and kidnappings of their Latin and South American countries

Chris Echegaray:

The abductions are called secuestros express, or express kidnappings, because they are brief and for little money.

The victim is held for ransom for hours, and the ransom could be $50 or less, said Ricardo Cabrera, a Colombian native who was assaulted in Bogota.

"These low-level type of kidnappings occur in the ghettos, in the barriados," said Cabrera, 50. "These are crimes among the poor. They happen in these marginal neighborhoods."

In the local case, Clay Moore was able to make a daring escape, and the suspect, Vicente Ignacio Beltran-Moreno, is on the lam.

Moreno, a Mexican national, left behind a ransom note, authorities said.

Cabrera said that living in Colombia he worried about his two children, who were toddlers at the time.

"What surprised me about this case is that the victim was a teenager," he said. "It's usually adults or toddlers that are taken. I was very surprised and find it to be a rare occurrence."

Cabrera, of Tampa, was assaulted and left stripped down to his boxers in the middle of a street in Bogota, Colombia. He moved to the United States three years ago.

Lucely Franco evaded kidnapping after threats had been leveled against her and her family in Colombia. She pleaded for political asylum when she arrived in the United States in 1999.

Her husband, Jorge Ospina, didn't fare as well. He was kidnapped in 2000 for ransom by paramilitary troops. A $2,500 ransom was paid, and he was released.

"After the threats, I was in hiding for six months," said Franco, 62. "There was no looking back. I had to leave. My husband stayed behind, and he died two years after he was released from the kidnapping."

Kidnapper is reported to be illegal, already deported


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