NEW YORK (WCBS/AP) - Authorities say three men kidnapped an Ecuadorian national in Queens and held him for over a month, demanding $3 million from his family in Ecuador as ransom.
According to CBS New York, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced Wednesday that Christian Acuna and Dennis Alves of New York and Eduardo Moncayo of New Jersey have been charged with the kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment of 52-year-old Pedro Portugal.
Prosecutors reportedly said Portugal, a tax accountant, was approached by Moncayo on April 18 at his office in Jackson Heights. Moncayo flashed a fake NYPD badge and forced him into a vehicle. Once inside, Portugal was allegedly beaten by two other men who put a mask over his face and threatened to stab him if he moved.
The station reports Portugal was then taken to an old garment warehouse in Long Island City. The men kicked and punched him, saying they knew he had property in the U.S. and demanded money, said prosecutors.
Police said Portugal was forced to call his family in Ecuador and ask for the ransom.
Brown reportedly said the warehouse was a virtual torture chamber.
"He was tied to a chair, duct taped, ropes around his hands, hood over his head. He was brutalized, at times at knife point; threatened with death," Brown said.
The suspects allegedly held Portugal from April 18 until May 20. During that time, the masked men allegedly burned the victim's hands with acid, knocked out his teeth and repeatedly punched him. They also threatened to cut off his fingers and kill him.
Police were reportedly alerted of the ransom demands in Ecuador, and traveled to the country to work the case.
The warehouse was raided Monday evening and found Portugal on the third floor. They also arrested Acuna who attempted to escape.
Reports say Acuna told police that Alves was the mastermind of the kidnapping, claiming he was hired to watch the victim for $800 a week.
He allegedly said to authorities "I didn't treat him bad. I told him it was just business."
CBS New York reports police were still looking for three other suspects on Wednesday. If convicted, Acuna, Alves and Moncayo face terms of 25 years to life in prison.
Portugal was still hospitalized on Wednesday night with serious injuries.