By Karen Zautyk
A Lyndhurst man was among three suspects arrested in New York City in connection with the abduction of a Queens businessman, who reportedly was held captive and brutalized for 32 days while his kidnappers demanded a $3 million ransom from his family in Ecuador, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown and N.Y.C. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly announced last week.
The district attorney identified the local man as 38-yearold Eduardo Moncayo of New York Ave., Lyndhurst. The other defendants are Christian Acuna, 35, of Corona, Queens, and Dennis Alves, 32, of East Elmhurst.
Last Wednesday, the DA reported that all three were being held without bail pending arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on charges of first- and second-degree kidnapping and first-degree unlawful imprisonment. If convicted, they face up to 25 years to life in prison.
According to news reports, as of press time, three other suspected accomplices were believed to have fled to Ecuador and the NYPD was hunting another who was caught on security footage at an ATM apparently trying to withdraw money from the victim’s account.
Brown said that, according to the charges, the victim, Pedro Portugal, 52, a tax accountant, was forcibly abducted “in broad daylight” April 18, on a street in Jackson Heights.
It is alleged that Moncayo called out Portugal’s name, displayed what appeared to be an NYPD badge, and with the help of another man, as yet unapprehended, forced the victim into an SUV, which was occupied by another unidentified male.
Portugal was allegedly held at knifepoint and driven to a warehouse in Long Island City, where he was kept captive from April 18 until May 20, authorities said.
Authorities said Portugal was ordered to call his mother and brother in Ecuador and request $3 million in ransom money.
During his captivity, it is alleged, “a group of masked males burned his hand with acid, threatened to cut off his fingers and kill him, and punched him in the face and body, causing him to lose teeth and suffer multiple bruises….”
On the afternoon of May 20, it was reported, a detective from the NYPD Major Case Squad, which had been investigating the abduction, entered the warehouse and found Portugal, his hands bound with cloth and duct tape, inside a makeshift apartment on the third floor.
At the same time, another detective reportedly saw Christian Acuna running outside and apprehended him on the street.
It is alleged that in statements made to police, Acuna said he knew Dennis Alves, who introduced him to others, who hired him to watch Portugal inside the warehouse for $800 per week. Acuna allegedly further stated that he and Alves watched Portugal during the day while Moncayo watched him at night.
Of the hostage, Alves reportedly told police, “I didn’t treat him bad, I told him it was just business.”