Relative Implicated and arrested in Pulido kidnapping

Relative arrested in kidnapping of Mexican soccer star.

Police investigating the weekend kidnapping of Mexican soccer star Alan Pulido arrested a relative of Pulido’s who is believed to have masterminded the striker’s capture.

Osvaldo Velazquez was arrested Tuesday following a gun battle at a house in Ciudad Victoria, the capital of the northern border state of Tamaulipas. State Attorney General Ismael Quintanilla said that when police approached, Velazquez opened fire and was wounded in the shoulder and neck when the officers shot back.

Velazquez is married to a cousin of Pulido’s and may belong to a drug and kidnap gang, Quintanilla said. None of the police were injured, and Velazquez’s wounds were not life-threatening.

Alan Pulido, a 25-year-old forward with Olympiakos in the Greek league, was abducted late Saturday by gunmen after leaving a party with his girlfriend near Ciudad Victoria.

The kidnappers had demanded 6 million pesos ($325,000) from Pulido’s family for his safe return, but the athlete overpowered and beat one of his captors so badly that he had to be hospitalized. That suspect, identified as Daniel Morales, gave police enough information to find Velazquez.

In an interview Tuesday on Imagen Radio, Alan Pulido’s brother, Armando, said that minutes before he learned his brother had escaped, a kidnapper had warned that Alan Pulido would be dead by the following day if the family did not come up with the money.

“We’ve always gone around very relaxed, without security, without anything, and for that reason, the truth is we could never imagine, we never imagined something of this magnitude,” Armando Pulido said.

He said his brother was in good shape and resting.

Armando Pulido, who was at the same party his brother had attended, found out within minutes of Alan’s departure that he had been kidnapped.

The first ransom demand came early Sunday afternoon to a relative. From then on Armando Pulido handled the negotiations. When the kidnappers demanded 6 million pesos, “I responded that it was impossible,” he said.

He received a number of calls as the kidnappers grew more desperate. He kept telling them he could not get that kind of money.

On the last call around 11:30 p.m. Sunday, Armando Pulido told the kidnapper to call him back the next day and he would see how much money he could gather by then.

“No, in the morning you’re going to find him dead,” he said he was told.

Minutes later someone from the anti-kidnapping unit called to say that his brother had escaped.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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