April 15, 2015

Federal Grand Jury Indicts Lasalle Street Kidnappers

INDIANAPOLIS—Josh J. Minkler, the United States Attorney, announced today that a federal grand jury returned indictments against six Detroit, Michigan, residents for their role in a kidnapping conspiracy. Two victims were kidnapped from their home on the eastside of Indianapolis on March 2, 2015, and taken to Detroit where they were held for ransom by their captors.

“I want to commend the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department for their immediate reaction to this kidnapping,” said Minkler. “As a result of their non-stop efforts, this case was solved in less than 48 hours, the victims were rescued and the defendants arrested. Law enforcement has sent a strong message; when children are involved, we will send the cavalry.”

Charged with two counts of kidnapping and one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping include:

John Thomas, a/k/a, Jay, 38

Alaa Al-Salehi, a/k/a Big Boi, 23

April Sandell, 26

Bernando Reeves, a/k/a C-Note, 20

Mohammed Karkash a/k/a MJ, 22

Ali Hussain Ashore, 26

According to the indictment, Thomas is an alleged drug dealer from Detroit. On February 28, 2015, Thomas’ former girlfriend (Individual A) stole a large quantity of narcotics and narcotics proceeds and traveled to Indianapolis with her minor child. Between February 28, 2015, and March 2, 2015, Thomas and members of his conspiracy traveled to Indianapolis in search of Individual A.

The indictment further alleges that on March 2, 2015, members of the conspiracy conducted a home invasion on Lasalle Street in Indianapolis and kidnapped Individual A’s minor siblings, holding them for ransom. They used a blindfold, towel and a hood to prevent one victim from identifying members of the conspiracy and used zip-ties to prevent his escape. They later cut the fingers of the victim to compel him to reveal the location of Individual A and the narcotics and narcotics proceeds allegedly stolen from Thomas. Both victims were then transported by vehicle to Detroit. Both victims have been returned safely.

FBI Special Agent in Charge, W. Jay Abbott said, “The swift and safe return of the victims and apprehension of the subjects was the result of the cooperative efforts of Federal, State and Local law enforcement agencies.”

According to Assistant United States Attorneys Tiffany J. McCormick and Jeffrey D. Preston, who are prosecuting the case for the government, all defendants face up to life in prison, if convicted.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.