The so-called “Kidnap Express” group had been operating in the neighbourhood of Santa Fe, in the heart of Bogota, before army forces and the Technical Investigation Team (CTI) of the prosecutor’s office burst in and rescued three local men following a two-month investigation.
The director of the CTI, Carlos Mario Restrepo, says that victims would enter the building, then be sedated and kidnapped.
“They were stripped of all their belongings and through intimidation, beatings and electric shocks, [the criminals] forced these people to give up the pincodes to their credit or debit cards,” he explains.
The gang members would then go to ATMs and withdraw all the money that they could from the victims’ accounts. In some cases, they would also force the victims to relinquish keys to their homes or businesses for further theft of valuables.
Authorities detained 15 alleged criminals during the raid, consisting of three women, four men, four transgenders and four minors.