Federal Customs Agent Armando Alaniz was off-duty, unarmed, and on vacation with his family in Orlando when he was kidnapped by four armed teens Wednesday night.
Alaniz, 44, was nabbed just outside the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Orlando’s tourist corridor, while setting the GPS in his Chevy Tahoe to prep for a drive to the Florida panhandle the next morning.
There, four teens emerged and jumped the agent, 44, at gunpoint. They pistol-whipped him, shoved him into his Tahoe, took his wallet, and bound him with duct tape and zip ties. They kidnapped him for two hours, driving around the city, before the agent was finally able to escape, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Armando was rescued after his wife called the police through OnStar after only a couple hours, My Fox Orlando reported. She’d grown concerned when her husband didn’t return from what should’ve been a quick and simple task in the parking lot.
After her report, reps called the Tahoe and heard a someone screaming for help. That’s when the teens ran from the car, leaving the kidnapped agent bound inside, just outside an unoccupied house that was later determined to be a drug den.
There, Armando was able to get out of his bonds and flee. He was hospitalized for a minor injuries, including four stitches to the scalp, and released.
“Because he was a law enforcement officer, I believe that he was well trained, he had a certain amount of calmness,” said Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, according to Whas11.
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So far, there’s nothing to suggest that the agent was kidnapped because he is a federal officer, nor that the four teens who kidnapped him even knew.
Police have already identified and arrested the four youths, some of whom have prolific criminal backgrounds already, according to the Sentinel. Those teens are Gregory McDonald, 19, and Dante Askins, 18, as well as an unidentified 15 and 16-year-old.
Demings had a message for the teens, whose gang connections are being probed.
“These high-school students were playing a dangerous game, and they got caught playing a dangerous game. If you are coming to our community with criminal intent, we want you to think twice about it.”
Askins had been arrested five times prior to Wednesday’s attack. He was charged as an adult two years ago for the attempted murder of a 15-year-old girl during a gang shooting. The charges were dropped, but his co-defendants were sentenced to time in jail.
The unnamed teens had also been arrested before. One, 15, had allegedly kidnapped someone about a year ago and charged; the other, 16, had been arrested for five felonies at age 13.
Though the man’s job as a border agent isn’t believed to have played a role, the Sentinel pointed out that last year, he’d stopped a tractor trailer hauling 150 pounds of meth as it attempted to enter the U.S. from Mexico.
Crimes in the area Armando was kidnapped have spiked and since Wednesday’s incident, police patrols have been increased.
[Photo Courtesy Maksim Vivtsaruk/Shutterstock]