Gambling Hall Serves as Backdrop in Odd Spanish Kidnapping Case

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Gambling Hall Serves as Backdrop in Odd Spanish Kidnapping Case

After receiving a call that a kidnapping had taken place, Spanish law enforcement quickly mobilized its assets to prevent a tragedy. Their efforts paid off, but they were more than a little surprised to discover that the kidnapping was fake and that it involved a local gambling house.

Tenerife, Spain
Tenerife, Spain
The César Manrique Maritime Park with the Tenerife Auditorium in the background as the sun sets. Typically an idyllic tourist destination, an alleged kidnapping involving a gambling hall recently had police scrambling. (Image: Expatra)

The mother of the “victim” in the city of Tenerife contacted law enforcement about the alleged kidnapping of her daughter. However, it turned out to be an elaborate hoax the young woman’s in-laws fabricated. It took Spain’s Civil Guard just 24 hours to crack the case.

The girl’s boyfriend, along with his family, participated in the conspiracy, and it wasn’t the first time they had targeted the girl’s family. The Civil Guard arrested them all, including the alleged victim, although they’re not sure how to write up her involvement.

Fake Blood Money

The in-laws are all Venezuelan nationals who preyed on the 22-year-old unidentified female’s family. She wasn’t aware of the previous activity and said she only went along with the ruse out of fear of what they might do.

The criminals concocted a story that they would engage in Santeria, a form of voodoo, and harm her mother. In addition, they told the victim that the money from the kidnapping, €50,000 (US$49,540) would pay to keep the dead from coming back to life.

She bought it, helping to stage the kidnapping. They made a video in which the girlfriend was gagged and apparently bleeding, then sent it to the mother.

The “kidnappers” demanded payment in cash and delivered to a specific place they chose. However, everything about it was a setup. Even the blood was fake, purchased at a party store.

The mother contacted the police and turned over the video. Investigators wasted no time in picking it apart. They  soon realized that there had not been any kidnapping. It didn’t take long to identify the location where the video was taken. They moved in and arrested the conspirators inside a betting and gambling arcade.

After the arrests, the Civil Guard found the tools used to simulate the kidnapping. Among these were a large knife, the handkerchief they used to gag the woman, and the bottle of artificial blood.

Under a Spell

The supposed victim and her boyfriend had reportedly been together for two years. During that time, her extended family had extorted money from the girl’s mother as many as three times. However, none reached the level of seriousness as the false kidnapping.

Instead, the other attempts consisted of sending letters to the woman in which they threatened serious harm to her daughter. The mother never reported anything, handing over €45,000 ($44,586) to the extortionists.

Following their arrests, the criminals will face charges related to all of the crimes. Those charges are still pending, as prosecutors try to figure out who did what.

The girl, even though the police don’t believe she was a willing participant, still played a role. As such, she faces punishment as well. But that will be up to a court judge to determine.

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