Alleged Kidnappers Arrested
|FBI Jackson February 15, 2013|
Arveanious Smith, aka “A.V.,” age 31, and Travis Jerome Washington, age 18, both of Pascagoula, Mississippi, were arrested by FBI agents and Pascagoula Police officers on February 14, 2013, in Pascagoula, Mississippi. These arrests were the result of a joint investigation by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force and the Pascagoula Police Department, assisted by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, into the February 12, 2013 kidnapping of a retired university professor. Smith and Washington allegedly assaulted and robbed the victim at his residence in Fayette, Mississippi, then transported him in his vehicle across state lines into Louisiana. The victim was released at approximately 4:00 a.m. on February 13, 2013, in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
Smith and Washington are being charged federally with kidnapping. If convicted, they face penalties of up to a life sentence in federal prison.
Daniel McMullen, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the FBI in Mississippi, stated that Smith and Washington will have initial appearances before Senior United States Magistrate Judge John M. Roper, United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi in Gulfport, on February 15, 2013.
The FBI Safe Streets Task Force is a Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) initiative and receives funding from the Office of National Drug Control Policy in Washington, D.C. It is made up of special agents from the FBI and law enforcement officers from the Pascagoula, Moss Point, and Gautier Mississippi Police Departments and the George County Sheriff’s Department.
SAC McMullen stressed that arrests are accusations only, and there is a presumption of innocence prior to any judicial proceeding.