Four police officers have been arrested following the kidnapping and murder of local taxi driver Alberto Sarubi in La Matanza.
According to police sources, Sarubi was taken hostage in Capital Federal while working as a taxi driver in his Fiat Siena. The armed kidnappers instructed the 65-year-old to head in the direction of the district of Crovara and General Paz. During the journey, the kidnappers made contact with Sarubi’s family, demanding a AR $200,000 ransom for his safe return.
Having negotiated the fee down to $20,000 AR and $3800 USD, Sarubi’s son agreed to meet the demands of the kidnappers and traveled to the town of Villegas in La Matanza to hand over the cash and rescue his father. But that didn’t happen.
The police unit from the anti-kidnapping division of the federal police force that was monitoring the case intervened, despite orders not to do so from the Federal prosecutor Carlos Stornelli. Aware of police presence, the kidnappers began to fire shots. Sarubi was soon found dead with 5 bullet-wounds to the back, 8 blocks from the meeting-point for the handover.
Why did the police intervene?
It had all been arranged: Sarubi’s son would hand over the money; the kidnappers would hand over Sarubi. The police unit was instructed not to intervene.
The details on exactly what provoked the intervention of the monitoring officers are not entirely clear. “We suspect that there was a struggle between the money-handler and the kidnappers, that the life or safety of Sarubi’s son was in danger” – the explanation offered from a figure within the police force, in a dialogue with Infobae.
While specific details are still coming together, what is know is that the officer in charge, commissioner Lionel Santos made the strategic decision to disobey the orders from Stornelli and a shootout followed. Now four officers connected with the incident have been arrested.
What happens to arrested officers now?
The cloudy details surrounding the incident, culminating in Sarubi’s death, have generated suspicions of police collusion with the kidnappers. But the police force were keen to emphasize that this was an operation gone wrong, and nothing more. “This happens in our line of work. The arrested officers are not criminals,” said another source within the force. He also added that the force would be employing lawyers to defend the officers.
In the imminent future, the four officers, including the head of the Anti-kidnapping, Santos will give their statements in court in Comodoro Py.
What about the kidnappers?
In the aftermath of the shootout, the police unit successfully detained one of the kidnappers, a 16-year old in charge of making the handover with Sarubi’s son. The minor has been arrested under charges of kidnapping and homicide. His accomplices, however, are still on the loose.