Woman Arrested and Indicted for Kidnapping
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 16, 2011|
SAN JUAN, PR—On Wednesday, December 14, 2011, a federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment against Esmerlin A. Capellán-Burgos, who aided and abetted by others, unlawfully seized, confined, kidnapped, abducted, and carried away a female victim and held her for ransom and reward, and used the telephone, an instrumentality of interstate and foreign commerce, in committing and in furtherance of the commission of said offense, announced today Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The defendant, who remains detained, also faces one count for knowingly possessing a firearm, during and in relation to a crime of violence, kidnapping.
On December 10, 2011, Capellán-Burgos and the victim had dinner in the vicinity of Santurce, Puerto Rico, and when they were walking down the street, an unknown subject got out of a green sedan and forcefully took the victim at gunpoint and placed her inside the vehicle. Two other unknown subjects were waiting in the car and held her until the next day. The unknown subjects placed several telephone calls from a cell phone to demand ransoms. The amount demanded initially was $20,000 and it was eventually lowered to $5,000.
The victim begged the unknown subjects not to kill her and offered them valuables located at her home, including jewelry valued at approximately $5,000 and a laptop computer. When they arrived at her house the perpetrators threatened to kill her if she attempted to escape. In spite of their warning, the victim started to scream that she was being kidnapped causing the unknown subjects to become scared and flee the scene.
During the morning of December 11, while the victim was still kidnapped, the defendant went to the police with the victim’s family members to report the kidnapping, although her involvement in the case was later determined.
“This investigation continues,” said U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. “We commend all law enforcement agencies that collaborated in the investigation, which resulted in the prompt filing of charges in this case.”
“This investigation and arrest demonstrates the FBI’s continued commitment to aggressively pursuing criminals who deprive the citizens of Puerto Rico of their liberty,” said Joseph S. Campbell, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI-San Juan Field Office.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney José Contreras. If convicted of kidnapping, the defendant could face up to life in prison. If convicted of the firearms charge, the defendant faces a minimum of five years, up to life, in prison, which would be consecutive to any sentence imposed on the kidnapping charge. Indictments contain only charges and are not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.