Investigators in Argentina believe police officers and former members of Peru's Shining Path guerrillas are behind the recent kidnapping of a wealthy businessman, raising concerns that the country’s kidnapping groups may be growing more sophisticated.
According to an investigator cited by La Nacion, a criminal group composed of former members of the Shining Path and current and former police officers was responsible for kidnapping Daniel Rebagliati, the owner of an environmental cleanup company. Rebagliati was kidnapped on April 28 and released on May 6, ending eight days of captivity in what he described as very poor conditions, after his family reportedly paid a ransom of around $200,000 dollars, reported Clarin.
The kidnapping was unusual because it did not follow the typical pattern of "express" kidnappings in Argentina, in which victims are only held for a few hours in vehicles and are forced to empty their bank accounts. The kidnappers in Rebagliati's case took special measures to ensure their anonymity, moved him to several different sites during his captivity, and forced him to remain barefoot so that traces of the places he was housed would not remain on his shoes, according to Clarin. The kidnappers also had Rebagliati's family throw the ransom from a moving train, and even carried out a trial run of the ransom hand-off the day before to ensure that they weren't being followed by security forces.
Investigators told local media that they believe the same criminal group may have carried out other recent kidnappings as well, including the kidnapping of a businessman who was taken captive two weeks before Rebagliati.
InSight Crime Analysis
Although kidnappings appear to be on the rise in Argentina, they are typically "express" kidnappings, which are often unplanned and start out as vehicle robberies, only becoming kidnappings if the driver is perceived as being wealthy. However, the alleged involvement of police and ex-guerrillas in the most recent kidnapping, and the tactics they employed, indicate that this crime has seen the rise of more sophisticated criminal groups as well.
SEE ALSO: Coverage of Argentina
The alleged role of former Shining Path guerrillas is also notable. In March, an investigation carried out by an Argentine NGO found that former Shining Path guerrillas were involved in the operation of at least 10 cocaine laboratories in Buenos Aires. In addition, in 2013 a Shining Path member wanted for the murder of two police officers in Peru was arrested in the same city. As Argentina's role in the drug trade has grown, the country has seen the arrival of members of foreign criminal groups from across the region.