Bounty hunters kidnapped man for ransom – and police walked away from the case

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) – A Colorado man kidnapped at gunpoint in front of his wife and children must thank Aurora town police for their rescue.

Denver police officers, who were called first, are now under an internal affairs investigation to find out why they did not fully investigate the case.

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Brandon Sharp, 34, and William Holland, 40, have both been charged with first and second degree kidnapping by Arapahoe County prosecutors. Three other so-called bounty hunters are still at large.

Armed bounty hunters storm an apartment

The kidnapping took place on November 4, when five men dressed in black and armed with rifles, who identified themselves as bounty hunters, stormed the apartment of José Salguero-Martinez, 25, in Aurora. .

Group leader Holland posted part of the alleged crime on Instagram under the pseudonym FRA Investigations with the caption: “This guy has been running from New York since 2015, 6 years later, here we are.”

In the video, you hear a man say to relatives of Salguero-Martinez: “Can you get him a jacket, a jacket, he’s going to need a jacket.” It is cold at night. You need a man with a jacket, he’s going to be with us for a while.

A relative of Salguero-Martinez can be heard asking, “So you take him to the county, the cops aren’t picking him up?” And one of the so-called bounty hunters replies, “We do everything.” ”

Victim held for ransom in a hotel

According to a criminal affidavit, the so-called bounty hunters then took Salguero-Martinez to a Best Western hotel. Surveillance video from the hotel shows Salguero-Martinez entered the hotel handcuffed with a black hood over his head and an alleged bounty hunter on either side of him.

Once at the hotel, Holland called Salguero-Martinez’s aunt and told her that the bounty hunters would need $ 1,500 or that Salguero-Martinez would be turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

According to the affidavit, the aunt went to see family members and raised $ 1,500 plus an additional $ 250 that the bounty hunters suddenly demanded to cover the hotel room, only to be told that the bounty hunters now needed an additional $ 5,000 to secure Salguero-Martinez’s freedom and make the ICE warrants disappear.

At that point, the family realized they were the victim of an extortion scam and called Denver Police. But according to Holland’s arrest affidavit, Denver police “saw nothing suspicious” when they went to the hotel room and saw Salguero-Martinez with his captors.

Instead, the affidavit states: “The suspects produced some type of document stating that they were a funder which DPD accepted as legitimate. After reviewing the documents, DPD left the area and advised (the aunt) to do the same.

Salguero-Martinez was then transferred to a Radisson hotel in Aurora. When Aurora police were contacted by Salguero-Martinez’s family, officers contacted an ICE Detention and Deportation Monitoring Officer, who confirmed that ICE “had no reason. to order the arrest of Salguero-Martinez “.

“Fortunately, Aurora PD was able to contact one of my ICE agents to get confirmation that this was not someone we had targeted,” said John Fabbricatore, director of the field office at Denver for ICE.

In an interview, Fabbricatore said the ICE would never allow bounty hunters to break into an apartment, kidnap someone at gunpoint and detain them in a hotel.

“No, this is not part of the immigration bond process. We don’t use bounty hunters, ”Fabbricatore said.

When police from Aurora arrived in the hotel room, they discovered that Salguero-Martinez was “handcuffed to waist chains that were secured with a combination lock.”

Salguero-Martinez would later tell police that he could hear the suspects arguing at one point over what to do with him and “one of the suspects suggested they just killed Salguero-Martinez.” This suggestion was denied by another suspect who said they couldn’t kill him because he had a wife and children.

Undocumented migrants vulnerable to extortion

Bianey Bermudez is part of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition and has said that undocumented migrants are likely to be kidnapped for money because they are often afraid to ask the police for help.

“It’s horrible, but it’s not surprising,” said Bermudez, who added that the failure of immigration reform and a path to citizenship that could help millions of undocumented residents in America are partly to blame for the kidnapping of Salguero-Martinez.

“It’s a direct result of that, the way people are exploited,” Bermudez said.

William Ellenburg is a bail slave and said Holland went all wrong if he tried to execute an arrest warrant.

“He (Holland) shouldn’t have touched it, he shouldn’t have knocked on that door,” said Ellenburg, who added that bounty hunters and bail slaves are not allowed to forcibly enter. at someone’s house to make an arrest in Colorado.

Ellenburg said Holland was stupid to post his alleged crime on Instagram.

“It was a nail in his own coffin. He just showed everyone that he and his team were a bunch of criminals, ”Ellenburg said.

Bounty hunter has already faced criminal charges

Holland, who was supposed to stay out of trouble while on bail, is not compliant. As it turns out, Holland has six other criminal cases pending, including two earlier incidents in Arapahoe County where he was charged with impersonating a police officer.

As to the Denver Police failure to arrest Holland in the kidnapping / extortion case, Ellenburg said Denver Police “owe the family an apology.”

Bermudez said Denver’s lack of investigation “shows how small and invisible our community is and how unprotected we are.”

Fabbricatore said he wished Denver Police had called their office from the start, as Aurora Police did.

“It would have been ideal if they had done this,” Fabbricatore said, before adding: “In a situation like this, where we had a non-citizen who was kidnapped by an alleged bounty hunter, we need to make sure we work with local law enforcement to make sure that doesn’t happen.

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Denver Police declined a request for an interview, saying it would be inappropriate to comment when an internal affairs investigation is underway.

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