The Federal Justice confirmed the sentence to 10 years in prison for six Buenos Aires police officers for having kidnapped a man who threatened to cut off his finger in 2017, in La Matanza, and whose capture they planned through conversations in a WhatsApp group at the that they titled “Ponela Tío” because they considered that a relative, whom they accused of drug trafficking, had to pay a ransom of 60,000 pesos.
Chamber III of the Federal Chamber of Criminal Cassation confirmed the penalties that in March 2019 fell on Alejandro Gabriel Gómez, María Florencia Romero, Matías Ezequiel Brítez, Juan Leonel Peña, Sebastián Alfredo Renversade and Gabriel Alejandro Rodríguez, all of them Police officers Local of La Matanza who were arrested for the oral debate.
In the 38-page ruling, judges Liliana Catucci, Juan Carlos Gemignani, and Eduardo Riggi they rejected all the proposals presented by the defenses and they validated the sentence of the Federal Oral Court (TOF) 1 of San Martín.
The police officers will continue to be detained for the crime of “extortive kidnapping aggravated by the use of firearms, because the participants were agents of a security force and because of the number of interveners.
Before being brought to trial, the prosecutor desisted from accusing Mario Mauricio Puñales, a citizen who provided surveillance services, for which his immediate release was ordered.
The Justice found that the police officers, while they were on duty and dressed in their regulatory uniforms, they kidnapped a neighbor from the town of Virrey del Pino on February 7, 2017 between 17 and 20:45.
“The order came via WhatsApp to the group ‘Ponela Tío’ that Rodríguez had formed and that these six accused were members of. The group was formed in order to plan, carry out and finalize details of the criminal event “, assured TOF 1.
According to the accusation, that day, the man was walking next to a neighbor on Vilela Street, when he was intercepted by a patrol car of the Local Police of La Matanza, from which Peña and Gómez descended -with their regulation weapons and uniforms-, they beat him and they forced him into the vehicle.
At that moment, one of the agents told him: “We know that you are a transaction, we know that your father is a transaction, call your father to ask for money.”
For the judges, this maneuver had the support of Brítez and Romero, who were also in uniform, armed and moved in another police cell.
The victim, who had told them that his father was dead, was taken to an open field, at kilometer 40 of Virrey del Pino, and during the journey one of the policemen took a wallet, 30 pesos, papers and his identity card. issued by the Republic of Paraguay.
Once in the wasteland, man They forced him to call a friend to pay a ransom of 60,000 pesos.
Said communication was made through the call service of the WhatsApp messaging application and in which the aforementioned group had been set up.
“Its name ‘Ponela Tío’ is paradigmatic. From the evidence collected and in light of what happened it is clear why it was decided to call it like this: the ‘uncle’ of the kidnapped had to ‘put up’ the ransom money. To ‘put it’ as Renversade said “, assured Chamber III.
During his captivity, the patrols -three in total- came and went, while some of the policemen beat the victim, threatened to cut off his finger, took a photo of him and even Gómez shot twice at the ground near where the young man was standing.
Finally, since the victim’s friend had not gotten the money, he offered to collect the ransom and give it to him the next day, so, around 8:45 p.m., they put him back on one of the patrol cars and They released him blocks from the field.
“(The kidnapped) was threatened with death. Gómez placed a Sevillian around his neck. Since the money could not be collected, (he) offered the captors to collect it and to contact them the next day. However, they decided to release him all Once Renversade ordered it when it learned that the incident had been denounced, “they specified in the ruling.
After their arrests and when they were investigated at the investigation stage, some of the defendants referred to the incident as a “procedure” for the commercialization of narcotic drugs, one refused to testify and others argued that it was reprisal for having disrupted a network from narcotics suppliers.