Washington Nationals' baseball player Wilson Ramos rescued from kidnappers
(CBS/AP) CARACAS, Venezuela - Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos has been rescued from kidnappers after Venezuelan police swooped in to save him in a flurry of gunfire and arrested five alleged abductors.
The 24-year-old said he was happy and thankful to be alive, and that the final moments had been hair-raising as police and the kidnappers exchanged heavy fire in the remote mountainous area where he was being held.
"The truth is I'm still very nervous, but thanks to God, everything turned out well," Ramos told Venezuelan state television, speaking by telephone after arriving at a police station in his hometown of Valencia early Saturday.
He thanked the police and National Guard commandos who rescued him, saying "the boys did a great job."
Ramos had not been seen or heard from since he was seized at gunpoint outside his home Wednesday night and whisked away in an SUV. It was the first known kidnapping of a Major League Baseball player in Venezuela, and the abduction set off an outpouring of candlelight vigils and public prayers at stadiums as well as outside Ramos' home.
Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami announced on Friday night that Ramos was "safe and sound" after the rescue. He didn't say whether anyone had been wounded in the gunfire.
Five men were arrested in the kidnapping, including a Colombian "linked to paramilitary groups and to kidnapping groups," El Aissami said.
"Three guys grabbed me there in front of my house," Ramos said. "...they took me to another SUV and from there they took me into the mountains," in central Carabobo state.
He said his abductors spoke little to him. "They simply told me to cooperate, that they were going to ask for a ton of cash for me."
More on Crimesider
Nov. 11, 2011 - Major hunt launched in Washington Nationals' baseball player Wilson Ramos abduction case
Nov. 10, 2011 - Washington Nationals' baseball player Wilson Ramos abducted by gunmen
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