Seven people are now in custody after a dramatic hostage rescue last Friday, when Vancouver Police and RCMP recovered the 29-year-old victim of a terrifying abduction.
Drawing resources from both VPD and the Richmond RCMP detachment, it took a total of 41 investigators to bring down the suspects. Police said it was the largest deployment of their kidnapping protocol in recent years.
According to Inspector Brad Desmarais of the police department’s Major Crime Section, the team initiated “an intense and complex investigation” after receiving information about a kidnapping downtown on the evening of October 20th.
“The investigators were able to determine that a meeting had been arranged which resulted in the alleged abduction, which we believe was financially motivated,” Desmarais said in a release.
Within hours, they had identified a location believed to be associated with the abduction, and placed it under surveillance. The Emergency Response Team was also placed on standby, so that they could make a hostage recovery at a moments notice.
“Surveillance was established on a Richmond business located on No. 5 Rd., and soon officers saw what they believed was suspicious activity related to the kidnapping. Not long after, officers watched as a blind-folded male was led into a car which soon departed in the company of a second suspect SUV,” said Desmarais.
With the team in pursuit, the SUV continued to drive along Highway 91, where it pulled over before the blindfolded man was pushed from the vehicle. The ERT responded quickly, rescuing the victim and taking down both suspect vehicles.
Five people were arrested at the scene, and were since charged with unlawful confinement and kidnapping. Warrants were issued for two other suspects thought to be involved, and they have both now turned themselves in.
The arrests included both male and female suspects, ranging from age 20 to 42. The suspects were said to be from North Vancouver, Richmond, Kamloops, Abbotsford and Surrey. Police are also expecting additional charges to be laid, in relation to weapons and other items seized.
In the press release, Desmarais expressed sincere thanks to all of the officers involved in the investigation.
“The successful outcome of this incredibly high risk operation is largely due to the immediate and seamless integration of police resources and the investigative teams,” he said.
“It’s also worth noting that we believe this group was working in concert with a larger eastern organized crime group – one of the reasons we are still actively investigating.”