Tuesday, October 11, 2005

BALTIMORE (AP) — Three men were in custody in Virginia Beach in the reported kidnapping of a Baltimore man early yesterday, police said.

Hugo Umana’s brother, Jose, reported him kidnapped at 5:55 a.m., Maj. Richard C. Fahlteich said.

The brothers were walking down Baltimore Street on their way to work when Hugo Umana, 22, was forced into a Ford Focus with Texas license plates at knifepoint, police said. He threw his cell phone out of the car to his brother, who called police.

Hours later, Jose Umana received a call on his brother’s cell phone from the abductors, who said Hugo Umana owed them $500 and that they would not return him until they received the money.

A Spanish-speaking Baltimore police officer posed as another Umana brother and tried to get the kidnappers to bring Hugo Umana back to Baltimore, Maj. Fahlteich said. The men were skeptical, even after the undercover officer offered them $600.

The abductors, who are thought to be smugglers of aliens, agreed to turn Hugo Umana over in the District in exchange for $600.

Police were able to track the vehicle before it reached the District through a Global Positioning System chip in the abductors’ cell phone.

Virginia Beach police stopped the vehicle about noon, Maj. Fahlteich said.

The three men are awaiting charges, which will include kidnapping.

Police say Hugo Umana told them he was not taken against his will.

The Umana brothers, who live on Leverton Avenue in Baltimore, are illegal aliens from Honduras. Police think they worked as day laborers.

The suspects were identified as Jorge Alberto Zuniga Paredes, 25, Jose Eduardo Salguerro Cabeza, 34 and Fredy David Aleman, 21. Police do not know the country the suspects are from, nor do they know where they live.

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