Four Roanoke Men Indicted in Kidnapping Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office May 08, 2009|
United States Attorney Julia C. Dudley announced today that Joshua KASONGO of Roanoke (age 19), Mohamed Hussein GUHAD of Roanoke (age 19), Luke Musa ELBINO of Vinton (age 19), and Anthony Eugene MUSE of Roanoke (age 18), were indicted by a federal Grand Jury sitting in Roanoke, Virginia on May 7, 2009. Guhad was taken into custody by the FBI on May 1, 2009, and the other three defendants were arrested this morning without incident.
All four defendants were charged in a two count indictment with Kidnapping Conspiracy and Attempted kidnapping. If convicted on both counts, the maximum penalty faced by the defendants is Life imprisonment and/or a fine of $500,000.
It is charged in the Indictment that KASONGO, GUHAD and ELBINO met to devise a scheme to kidnap the wives of wealthy men to hold for ransom. It was decided that KASONGO would plan the kidnappings and conduct the negotiations for ransom. It was decided that GUHAD would find a location to confine and secrete the kidnaped victims until the payment of ransom, and that GUHAD would obtain the implements necessary for the actual kidnappings, including but not limited to duct tape, rope, gloves, disguises and handcuffs. It was decided that ELBINO would use his laptop computer to identify and research potential targets for the kidnapping scheme.
GUHAD recruited MUSE to provide a location to secrete and confine the kidnap victims until the ransom was paid. MUSE agreed to provide an unoccupied trailer in a secluded area of Roanoke County for this purpose.
It is further charged in the Indictment that the Defendants would drive through wealthy Roanoke County neighborhoods and identify residences they felt housed wealthy occupants who could afford paying substantial ransoms. The Defendants then accessed the Internet to research the intended targets of the kidnapping scheme. This research included personal information of the intended victims (home value, employment, car ownership, phone numbers, associations with economically viable organizations, etc.) and locations of and directions to the personal residences of the intended victims. From this process, the defendants identified two targets.
On April 6, 2009, the defendants attempted to kidnap one of the targets but was rebuffed when the intended victim slammed the door on one of the defendant’s arms as they attempted to invade the house. KANSONGO, GUHAD and ELBINO were arrested on state Attempted Breaking and Entering charges and released on bond.
GUHAD is a U.S. Legal Permanent Resident and a citizen of Somolia; ELBINO is a U.S. Legal Permanent Resident and a citizen of Sudan; KASONGO is a U.S. Legal Permanent Resident and a citizen of Rwanda; and, MUSE is a U.S. citizen. GUHAD and MUSE are students at Patrick Henry High School; ELBINO is a student at Virginia Western Community College; and, KASONGO’s employment and/or academic activities are unknown.
The investigation of the case was conducted by Special Agent Scott Mayne for the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Special Agent Johnny Blais for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and, Detective Betsy Hook for the Roanoke County Police Department. Criminal Chief Thomas J. Bondurant, Jr., and Assistant United States Attorney Charlene Day will prosecute the case. For further information, please contact Mr. Bondurant at (540) 857-2379.
A Grand Jury indictment is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial with the burden on the government to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.