Wilson Ramos kidnapping: Police arrest two more suspects
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan police said Monday that two more suspects have been arrested in the kidnapping of Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos and that authorities are searching for several others.
The men, a Colombian and a Venezuelan, were detained Sunday in a car with several other people in the town of Moron, not far from where Ramos was held captive, national investigative police chief Humberto Ramirez told reporters.
Police seized revolvers from the men as well as a cellular phone "directly linked" to the kidnapping, Ramirez said at a news conference in the central city of Valencia. He said police are searching for other suspects.
Ramos was seized at gunpoint outside his family's home in Valencia last week and was rescued by police commandos two days later at a remote hideout in the mountains of Carabobo state. Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami has said four of the abductors escaped amid gunfire during the rescue.
Venezuelan authorities have now arrested eight suspects, including six men accused of direct involvement and a couple accused of providing the abductors with food.
Ramirez identified the Colombian arrested on Sunday as 26-year-old Alexander Moreno Bolanos, saying he is "linked with paramilitary groups." Ramirez didn't elaborate.
The other suspect, 32-year-old Venezuelan Arturo Francisco Rojas Yepez, is from the town of Tovar in the western state of Merida, Ramirez said.
He said authorities are searching for several other Colombians and have physical descriptions of some of the suspects as well as their nicknames.
"We're coordinating with Colombian authorities to acquire information" to help identify the men, Ramirez said.
The 24-year-old major leaguer recently returned to his homeland after his rookie year with the Nationals to play during the offseason for his Venezuelan team, the Aragua Tigers.
When he was abducted, Ramos was standing with his father and two brothers outside the front door of his family's home in their working-class neighborhood.
He said after his release that his kidnappers had carefully planned the abduction with the help of an informant who had studied his movements. Ramos said his abductors told him they were going to demand a large ransom.
It was the first known kidnapping of a Major League Baseball player in Venezuela. Kidnappings have risen sharply in the country during the past decade, and relatives of several major leaguers have previously been kidnapped for ransom.