Photo: Police in Venezuela Arrest 3 in Kidnapping of Mexican Ambassador and his Wife
Venezuela’s interior minister announced that early Monday morning police arrested the people who briefly abducted Mexican Ambassador Carlos Pujalte and his wife on Jan. 29.
Among those arrested is “the head of the criminal band who participated in the ambassador’s kidnapping,” Tareck El Aissami said.
He said five other people involved in the couple’s abduction have been fully identified and are being sought by Venezuelan security forces.
“From the moment when we learned of the deeds, we have not rested ... We have identified those who participated in the kidnapping,” the minister told Union Radio.
Pujalte and wife Paloma Ojeda were kidnapped shortly after midnight when they left a reception in a residential neighborhood in northern Caracas.
Pujalte, an attorney and career diplomat, and his wife were held by their four male and “heavily armed” captors for four hours but they were then released in the Las Mayas sector in western Caracas.
An official with the Mexican Embassy in Caracas told Efe that when the ambassador’s vehicle turned up in the Chapellin area, near the spot where the kidnapping took place, authorities were alerted and an investigation was launched.
Several hours after the release of the couple, the Venezuelan government announced in a communique the beginning of a search to capture the kidnappers.
Meanwhile, the Mexican government acknowledged the contribution of the Venezuelan authorities in the locating and release of the envoy and it called for an “exhaustive investigation” of the facts in the case.
Pujalte’s kidnapping came two months after the Chilean consul in Caracas, Juan Carlos Fernandez, was shot, beaten, threatened and held hostage for two hours.
Venezuela has a homicide rate of 48 per 100,000 residents and Caracas is considered one of the most dangerous cities in Latin America.