PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Police detectives are investigating the son of one of Haiti's prominent families for his alleged role at the center of a kidnapping ring, authorities said Wednesday.
Police spokesman Frantz Lerebours said businessman Clifford Brandt was locked up Monday on suspicion of involvement in kidnapping two children of another family in the capital, Port-au-Prince.
Lerebours said Brandt took investigators to the place where the children were being held and police freed them.
Detectives also jailed two alleged accomplices suspected of driving a Toyota Land Cruiser to carry out the kidnapping. The two suspects were caught as they tried to cross the border into the neighboring Dominican Republic, Lerebours said.
Brandt runs a car dealership and is the son Fritz Brandt, head of a prominent Haitian family that has extensive holdings in export-import businesses.
Secretary of State for Public Security Reginald Delva told Scoop FM radio that the kidnapper demanded more than $2 million for the release of the two abducted children.
Brandt's lawyer, Delatour Calixte, told Scoop that Brandt did lead police to where the children were being held, but denied his client participated in a kidnapping. He suggested Brandt may have organized their "removal" in a family dispute.
"Removing a person is not the same thing as kidnapping," Calixte said. "There's a difference between kidnapping and a personal problem.... I have to say one thing: Mr. Brandt was never involved in kidnapping."