Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Kidnap victim freed, jailed on drug charge

By R. SCOTT RAPPOLD Updated: July 12, 2007 at 12:00 am
A Colorado Springs man was kidnapped and held for ransom for three days until authorities in Adams County rescued him Wednesday night. But Alejandro Solis Garcia’s freedom was short-lived — he went directly to jail in Adams County on a warrant for drug charges.
Colorado Springs police said Thursday they are investigating what role drugs played in Garcia’s kidnapping, which led to a multiagency effort and his rescue within 12 hours of it being reported. Arrested Wednesday night on suspicion of first-degree kidnapping were Angelina Franceschi, 18; Luis Arturo Mendez-Martinez, 26; Reyes Meraz-Rubio, 22; and Marco Antonio Peinado Caraveo, 24. El Paso County jail records show U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has placed holds on the last three. A juvenile, whose name was not released, also was arrested, police said. Police gave this account of the kidnapping: Around 9 p.m. Sunday, Garcia, the victim, along with his girlfriend, drove to the 4300 block of Edison Avenue to meet someone he knew, purportedly to sell a car. Once there, five people in another car forced Garcia inside a car at gunpoint. According to a police affidavit, the girlfriend followed the car until Garcia called from his cell phone and said they had a gun to his head and she should back off. His family received calls demanding $20,000, three vehicles and “a quantity of illegal drugs.” Police would not say what kind of drugs. Relatives did not report the kidnapping to police until Tuesday night. Tracing cell phone calls and using phone records, the suspects were tracked to a house in Henderson, in Adams County. Deputies from the Adams County Sheriff’s Office went to the house — described in the affidavit as a “compound surrounded by a white fence” — Wednesday morning, where they found Garcia sleeping in a back bedroom. The affidavit states he was intoxicated but unhurt, aside from some minor cuts, and did not need medical treatment. He told investigators he was held in a crawl space and was caught trying to escape. After his head was held underwater as punishment, he was locked to a stake in the ground, and the kidnappers threatened to cut off his fingers and send them to his family, according to the affidavit. He was slapped repeatedly and bullets were fired into the ground next to him. Colorado Springs police Lt. Mark Smith, head of the Major Crimes Unit, said investigators haven’t established how Garcia knew the kidnappers — though they haven’t ruled out a drug connection. He noted that the kidnappers demanded drugs, and that the victim’s warrant stemmed from his 2006 arrest on suspicion of felony drug possession and distribution. Records show he missed a March court appearance in that case. CONTACT THE WRITER: 476-1605 or scott.rappold@gazette.com
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