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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Indiana

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Lead defendant in LaSalle street kidnapping sentenced in federal court

Detroit man to spend the remainder of his life in prison for kidnapping two Indianapolis children in retaliation for a drug rip off

Indianapolis – United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler, announced today the sentencing of a Detroit, Michigan, man, for his leadership role in an Indianapolis kidnapping conspiracy.  John Thomas a/k/a Jay, 40, was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole by U.S. District Chief Judge Richard L. Young following his conviction in September 2016, of two counts of kidnapping and one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

“Mr. Thomas is a career criminal with previous convictions in Detroit for home invasions and drug trafficking,” said Minkler. “When Thomas came to Indianapolis to kidnap two children, law enforcement ensured that his career would come to an end-permanently. Thomas will not sell any more drugs, he will not break into anyone’s home, and will not kidnap any more children.  We have the hard working officers of the IMPD and Special Agents of the FBI and USMS to thank for that.”

Testimony in court indicated that Thomas was a drug dealer from Detroit. On February 28, 2015, Thomas’ former girlfriend (Individual A) stole a large quantity of narcotics and narcotics proceeds and traveled to Indianapolis with her minor child.  Between February 28, 2015, and March 2, 2015, Thomas and members of his conspiracy traveled to Indianapolis in search of Individual A.

On March 2, 2015, members of the conspiracy conducted a home invasion on LaSalle Street in Indianapolis and kidnapped Individual A’s minor siblings, and transported them to Detroit and Kentucky, holding them for ransom. They used a hood to prevent one victim from identifying members of the conspiracy and used zip-ties to prevent his escape. They later cut the victim’s fingers to compel him to reveal the location of Individual A, and the narcotics and narcotics proceeds taken from Thomas.  Both victims were returned safely following Thomas’ arrest.

FBI Special Agent in Charge, W. Jay Abbott said, “The swift and safe return of the victims and apprehension of the subjects was the result of the cooperative efforts of Federal, State and Local law enforcement agencies.”

Five other co-conspirators have pleaded guilty and were sentenced to:

Alaa Al-Salehi, a/k/a Big Boi, 24, 132 months

April Sandell, 27, 120 months

Bernando Reeves, a/k/a C-Note, 22, 72 months

Mohammed Karkash a/k/a MJ, 24, 36 months

Ali Hussain Ashore, 28, 18 months


Assistant United States Attorneys Tiffany J. McCormick and Jeffrey D. Preston, prosecuted this case for the government.

Updated December 15, 2016