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E.C. kidnapping report actually undocumented immigrant's arrest

May 04, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

The reported kidnapping of a man from an El Centro motel Thursday morning turned out to be a case of an undercover U.S. Border Patrol agent making an arrest of an undocumented immigrant.

The arrest, which occurred shortly before 9 a.m., was witnessed by an employee at the E-Z 8 Motel on Wake Avenue.

The employee reported he saw a man bound by another man walk out of a room in the motel and enter a car. When the car did not start, the pair went back into the room.

After receiving the call, the El Centro Police Department responded in force. Officers found no one in the room and conducted a search of the area.

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Police also called the U.S. Border Patrol to provide air support of the area.

While police were investigating the matter, Longoria said there were few leads

In a twist, however, a Border Patrol agent later in the day saw an news article in this newspaper about the possible kidnapping at the motel, according to Border Patrol spokesman Manny Figueroa.

That agent, who had been working an undercover surveillance case and had made an arrest that morning at the motel, called his supervisor to say the story likely was in reference to that arrest, Figueroa said.

The individual arrested had returned to this side of the border after being deported back to Mexico. The Border Patrol received a report that individual had returned and the agency started the undercover surveillance effort.

Longoria said police have ended their probe based on the report from the Border Patrol.

Longoria credited officers for the speed at which they responded to the incident and the effort they put in to handling what was reported to be a kidnapping.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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