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Thursday, November 17, 2011

MLB Venezuela consultant Rengifo says 8 of 10 kidnappings involve corrupt police

11/16/11, "He (Rengifo) so impressed MLB that it hired him, first as a consultant and now as the full-time head of a unit in Venezuela that includes eight part-time investigators." 5/30/11, "I would say that in Caracas eight out of every ten kidnappings have some level of police involvement," said Joel Rengifo, a former head of the investigative police's anti-kidnapping division who now works as a private consultant.
  • Mr Rengifo has more work than he can handle, advising individuals and companies on how to minimise the risk of kidnapping....

Officially there were 895 kidnappings in Venezuela last year. However, a government survey, suppressed by president Hugo Chavez, suggests that the real figure may be closer to 17,000 - 48 abductions every day -

  • with policemen among the principal kidnappers....

A survey carried out by the National Institute of Statistics estimated that 16,917 kidnappings were carried out over a 12-month period between 2008 and 2009. The document, which The Scotsman has obtained a copy of, was never published after the government saw the level of crime and violence it revealed...."You can be sure that right now, a few blocks from here, kidnapping gangs are scoping out potential victims," said Mr Rengifo, pointing out of the window of the caf in Caracas' fashionable Las Mercedes district. "They will be looking at the cars people drive, the clothes they wear, the houses they live in.""...

Big Bad Bud Selig hiring an investigator isn't going to stop Venezuelan culture. Players should know what they're up against. ed.

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11/16/11, Wash. Post: "During the Urbina case (in 2005), Joel Rengifo Añez, the former head of the Venezuelan police force dedicated to dealing with kidnappings, worked closely with MLB. While working for the government, his reputation earned him the nickname, “The Legend.” He so impressed MLB that it hired him, first as a consultant and now as the full-time head of a unit in Venezuela that includes eight part-time investigators.

When Ramos was taken last week, Rengifio was the first person called by the league’s Department of Investigations. MLB officials believe Rengifo’s precision and numerous contacts led to rapid breakthroughs in the case that helped ensure Ramos’s ultimate safety."...

11/17/11, Wash. Times: "In 2009, kidnappers abducted and killed the cousin of Victor Zambrano, a former major league pitcher, before kidnapping his mother." (5th parag.) (I hadn't seen Zambrano's case mentioned in other MLB/Venezuela related reports. ed.)

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