General — 24 January 2014 — by Kareem Clarke
Strange kidnapping in Copper Bank

Victims were released after paying $15,000 ransom

Corozal police are currently investigating a bizarre and traumatic case of kidnapping which occurred last night in the remote village of Copper Bank, located on the outskirts of Corozal Town.

Sabino Nah, 24; his brother Eduardo Nah, 32; and Eduardo’s common-law wife, Roxanie Cruz, 25, had gotten home last night just before 8:00 o’clock when four armed, masked men – who subsequently questioned them about drugs – barged into their compound, assaulted one of them, ransacked the family’s home and took Eduardo and Roxanie hostage.

Superintendent Andrew Ramirez, the Officer Commanding the Corozal Police Formation, gave us a detailed explanation of how the incident unfolded. He said that according to the account of the incident they received from the victims after the incident, at about 7:45 Monday night, January 20, Sabino and Eduardo Nah, along with Eduardo’s common-law wife, Roxanie Cruz, arrived at their home in Copper Bank in Eduardo’s dark grey Toyota 4-Runner, and upon reaching in front of the yard, Roxanie got out to open the gate to let the vehicle into the driveway.

“Immediately thereafter, four men of clear complexion, wearing what appeared to be T-shirts over their faces, entered the yard, speaking Spanish consistent with Belizean Spanish”, Ramirez explained. He said that, according to the victims, one of the men approached Sabino, who was already out of the vehicle, and hit him on the forehead with the butt of a black rifle, causing a cut wound. Sabino was then instructed to lie on the ground, which he did; he was then handcuffed, after which the other three men went inside the house with Eduardo and Roxanie and reportedly ransacked two rooms.

“At this time, Sabino found an opportunity to escape from his attacker and managed to run off to seek help, and upon reaching back a few minutes later with several villagers, neither Roxanie, Eduardo nor the SUV were anywhere to be seen. Extensive searches were then conducted by both Corozal and Orange Walk police in the surrounding areas, including Sarteneja, San Estevan and Progresso Villages,” said Ramirez.

Despite the intensive and extensive manhunt, neither the couple nor their kidnappers were anywhere to be found. It was not until about midnight, while a team of Corozal police was still at the scene of the kidnapping, that the couple was seen again. Eduardo and Roxanie arrived back in the village in the SUV, lucky to be alive after being released by their kidnappers.

But according to Eduardo, there is a price that they had to pay.

Supt. Ramirez said that Eduardo and Roxanie recounted that, after being forced into the 4-Runner, they were driven in the direction of Orange Walk Town. On the way, their kidnappers stopped in a cane field between Progresso and San Estevan villages (it can’t be “on their way,” because to get to these villages you have to go through Orange Walk Town, then cross the river, right?) on the periphery of the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts, and interrogated Eduardo about the whereabouts of some cocaine – which he had purportedly found.

“Eduardo denied having knowledge of such substance. He told police, however, that the kidnappers stole $15,000 in different denominations, and a demand was made to him for an additional sum of money in the near future. The assailants then left them in the cane field and fled the area. That is what we have at this point in time,” Ramirez outlined.

When questioned as to how the captives were able to surrender such a significant amount of cash at the time, Ramirez responded that Eduardo indicated that he had recently sold a plot of land and apparently had some of the money stashed at his house.

Eduardo added that one of the captors gave him a Digicell phone chip and told him that they would be contacting him using that number this Friday to arrange for him, Eduardo, to pay more money.

In addition to the money, the assailants also got away with a Samsung cell phone with the number 633-2724, valued at three hundred dollars.

Police are currently investigating the origin of the said cell phone chip, and they have also recovered the handcuffs which were used to restrain Sabino Nah. Those handcuffs are being examined for fingerprints using the police database.

Surveillance footage from the residence is also being reviewed, and police said that they are following up on all leads, since the abductors are believed to be Belizeans.

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