A Colorado police department faces an internal investigation after they let an armed kidnapping gang keep an innocent man they abducted from his home to extort the victim’s family.
On November 4 Brandon Sharp, 34, William Holland, 40, and three other men stormed 25-year old Jose Salguero-Martinez’ apartment in Aurora claiming to be bounty hunters and proceeded to extort his family for thousands of dollars for his release, police said.
They did so by claiming Salguero-Martinez was wanted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, it is claimed, although ICE says there was no such warrant out for the victim.
Holland uploaded a portion of his alleged crime to the Instagram FRA Investigations with the caption: ‘This guy ran from New York since 2015, 6 years later here we are.’
Jose Salguero-Martinez, pictured, was abducted by a gang of armed men claiming to be bounty hunters working on behalf of ICE in Denver earlier this month
Salguero-Martinez was bundled into a hotel by the five men – but Denver Police failed to rescue him when called, with the kidnapping now said to have been an extortion attempt
In the video Salguero-Martinez is captured with his legs spread out in handcuffs as he is being searched by a group of men near a vehicle.
His face is clearly visible, and he appears panicked.
In the clip a woman related to Salguero-Martinez is heard asking ‘So you guys take him down to the county, the cops don’t pick him up?’ and one of the men posing as bounty-hunters replied ‘We do everything.’
According to a criminal affidavit, the men then took Salguero-Martinez to a Best Western hotel where surveillance footage captured the 25-year-old being escorted into the hotel in handcuffs with a black hood over his head.
The men then called Salguero-Martinez’s aunt demanding $1,500 or else they would hand over her nephew to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, court documents said.
Salguero-Martinez’s aunt was able to raise the $1,500 and an additional $250 the so-called bounty hunters demanded to cover the hotel room costs.
But when they then told her they would also need and additional $5,000 in order to get rid of the ICE warrants, the family realized they were being extorted and called Denver Police.
Officers from the department visited the hotel room and saw Salguero-Martinez with his alleged kidnappers.
They reported that they ‘did not see anything suspicious’ and the paperwork they provided police was deemed legitimate, court documents said. The cops left without rescuing Salguero-Martinez from his captors.
Holland and Sharp both face first- and second-degree kidnapping charges
‘The suspects produced some type of paperwork stating they were Bail Bondsman which DPD accepted as legitimate. After reviewing the paperwork, DPD departed the area and advised (the aunt) to do the same,’ Holland’s arrest affidavit said.
The alleged kidnappers then transported Salguero-Martinez to a Radisson Hotel in Aurora and when his family contacted Aurora Police, officers reached out to an ICE officer who confirmed that there was no order to arrest the 25-year-old.
‘Thankfully, Aurora PD was able to reach out to one of my ICE officers to get the confirmation that this was not someone we had targeted,’ John Fabbricatore, the Denver Field Office Director for ICE, told news10.com
Fabbricatore said it is not ICE protocol to hire bounty hunters to kidnap someone at gunpoint and hold them at a hotel for ransom.
‘No, that is not part of the immigration bond process. We do not use bounty hunters,’ he told news10.com
Bail bondsman William Ellenburg told news10.com that Holland broke all the rules of actually executing an arrest warrant and said that real bounty hunters and bail bondsmen can not force their way into people’s homes to make an arrest in the state of Colorado.
Ellenburg also added that Holland made a huge mistake by posting his alleged crime on to social media.
‘That was a nail in his own coffin. He basically just showed everybody that him and his team are a bunch of criminals,’ Ellenburg said.
Denver Police have not commented on the case since there is an ongoing internal affairs investigation.
But Fabbricatore said the department should have done what Aurora Police did and called his office.
‘That would have been ideal had they done that,’ Fabbricatore told news10.com, adding, ‘In a situation like this, where we had a non-citizen that was kidnapped by a supposed bounty hunter, we need to make sure that we are working with local law enforcement to make sure that does not happen.’
Sharp and Holland both face first- and second-degree kidnapping charges as police search for three other ‘bounty hunters’ involved in the alleged kidnapping who are now themselves on the run.