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Press Release

Four Men Charged with Abducting Man From Camden Street and Holding Him for Ransom

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

CAMDEN, N.J. – Four men were arrested Aug. 14, 2021, for their alleged roles in abducting a man from a Camden street, beating him and then holding him captive while trying to extort $100,000 from the victim’s family, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Melvin Severino, 25, of Scranton, Pennsylvania; Welber Antonio Jesus, 24, and Yoandry Rodriguez, 21, both of Camden; and Cesar Alexander Batista Alcantara, 23, of Yonkers, New York, were each charged by complaint with kidnapping. The defendants are scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sharon A. King in Camden federal court on Aug. 17, 2021.

According to documents filed in this case:

The victim was walking down a street in Camden on the night of Aug. 12, 2021, when at least two individuals approached him from behind, covered his head, assaulted him and put him into a vehicle. The assailants drove the victim to a Camden residence where they restrained him and continued to beat him with a hard object the victim could not see. After several hours, the kidnappers removed the head covering and took photographs and video footage of the bloodied and beaten victim with the victim’s cell phone. The kidnappers sent those images to the victim’s family, and threatened to kill the victim if family members did not pay them over $100,000. In the early morning hours of Aug. 14, 2021, the FBI, working in partnership with local law enforcement in New Jersey and New York, located the victim and all four defendants in a Camden residence. The FBI apprehended the defendants and took the victim to Cooper University Hospital for medical treatment.

The kidnapping charge carries a statutory maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000. 

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of  Acting Special Agent in Charge Bradley S. Benavides in Philadelphia and Assistant Director in Charge Michael J. Driscoll in New York; officers of the Camden County Police Department, under the direction of Police Chief Gabriel Rodriguez; detectives of the New York City Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Dermot Shea; and the Camden County Sheriff’s Office under the direction of Sheriff Gilbert L. “Whip” Wilson with the investigation leading to the charges.

The government is represented by Molly S. Lorber, Attorney in Charge of the Camden Office.

The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Updated August 17, 2021

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 21-366