Gwinnett kidnapping ends in Jonesboro siege

By Daniel Silliman


A men held for an $80,000 ransom was freed from a Clayton County mobile home, five days after he was kidnapped out of his Duluth apartment.

Clayton and Gwinnett county police -- detectives, SWAT teams, crisis negotiators, and uniformed patrol -- surrounded the 404 Fleetwood Trail trailer at a few minutes after midnight Friday. Gwinnett County Detective Sgt. Eddie Restrepo got on a bullhorn and ordered everyone to come out with their hands up.

Three men came out of the pink, tin-sided mobile home, the 37-year-old hostage and two men, who were allegedly holding him against his will, 20-year-old Salvador Ernesto Salgado and 19-year-old Juan Torres Tobar.

The short-lived siege ended a five-day long kidnapping, 48 miles away from where it began.

The 37-year-old, whose name has not yet been released by police, was kidnapped out Duluth apartment on Sunday. The man's brother was called for a ransom demand, and he called the Gwinnett County police a little after midnight, Dec. 8, said Cpl. Illana T. Spellman, department spokeswoman.

"They requested something in the area of $80,000," Spellman said.

Detective Dave Elkins set up a money drop with the kidnappers, speaking to one of them on the phone and telling them money would be in a car in a parking lot on Pleasant Hill Road, near Sweetwater Road in Gwinnett.

While SWAT team members watched from a distance, four men in two vehicles drove up and retrieved the money. The SWAT team swept in and arrested two, 17-year-old Andres Lopez Espinosa and 25-year-old Miguel Albarez Espinosa.

The other two fled, but were stopped on Interstate 85, near Jimmy Carter Boulevard, in Norcross. They were arrested, and identified by police as Rigoberto Tobar Velazquez of Jonesboro, and Tomas Mendosa Pineda, of Atlanta.

The four suspects were charged with kidnapping, and their interrogation led detectives down to Jonesboro, to the Affordable Residential Communities off of Tara Road, and the other two kidnapping suspects.

Police believed the two men inside the mobile home were armed, but they surrendered without incident, and also were charged with kidnapping.

The kidnap victim hadn't suffered any injuries and seemed to be healthy, Spellman said.

The Gwinnett detectives are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the kidnapping, but Assistant Chief Dan Bruno said he was just glad the incident ended with everyone safe.

"Most people don't realize, or appreciate, the risks associated with working these types of cases," Bruno said. "Taking these suspects off the streets is a significant accomplishment."