The man believed to be the mastermind in the Andre Barnes kidnapping some seven months ago has been captured. Reports are that around 03:30 hours yesterday, the man was nabbed by police ranks in a house at the corners of Sheriff Street and Campbell Avenue.
This newspaper was told that for the past seven months police had been searching for the man who has been identified Michael Lewis also known as ‘Michael Joseph’. In the wake of the kidnapping and rescue, the police learnt that the mastermind had fled the jurisdiction. He was reportedly holed out in St Maarten and Cayenne.
Early yesterday, acting on intelligence, police swooped down on a house where a search was conducted and the man was caught.
Up to press time yesterday, the man was still being grilled by investigators at the Criminal Investigation Department.
On March 12, last, Andre Barnes, of Supply, East Bank Demerara, was snatched by two gunmen while dropping off his girlfriend at her West Ruimveldt home.
The kidnappers then demanded $50M for Barnes’s release. His father is the Chief Internal Auditor at the CariCom Secretariat.
Acting on a tip off, after the kidnapping, a heavily armed police squad stormed a North Ruimveldt residence where they rescued Barnes and nabbed one of his abductors, Ronaldo Marquez, who was allegedly armed with a 9mm pistol. Marquez was left to stand guard over the victim.
Barnes’s white Corolla, PLL 8269, was found in D’Urban Backlands, where the kidnappers had abandoned it.
According to reports, the drama began when Barnes drove to West Ruimveldt Housing Scheme to drop his girlfriend off. Just as he was about to drive off, two men with handguns rapped on the window at the driver’s side and demanded that he open the door.
When Barnes complied, the gunmen bundled the young man into the back seat and drove off with him. Shortly after, the kidnappers used Barnes’s mobile phone to call his mother. Warning her not to contact the police, the men then demanded that the woman give them $50 M before her son could be released.
Instead, Barnes’s mother contacted Mr. John Barnes, an uncle of the victim. In the meantime, the victim’s girlfriend, who had witnessed the kidnapping, contacted ranks at the West Ruimveldt Police Outpost.
Mr. Barnes said that he immediately drove to the East La Penitence Police Station to alert ranks there about the situation, while giving the ranks the licence number and description of his nephew’s vehicle.
Already Renaldo Marquez, 24, of Lot 49 Louisa Row, Werk-en-Rust, Georgetown, has been charged and remanded for the crime.
Marquez was charged with abduction for ransom, giving false information to the Police and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.
The indictable abduction charge, to which the accused was not required to plead, said, on March 12, he abducted Andre Barnes with intent to hold him for ransom.
Marquez pleaded not guilty to the other charge, which alleged that, the same day, he gave false information to a Police Corporal so that the latter would not charge him for the offence of abduction. That matter is currently ongoing in the court.
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