Monday, May 11, 2009

Land Pirates Strike in Virginia

Heroyalwhyness sent a post from Debbie Schlussel’s blog since, as she says, the crimes concern our neck of the woods.

It’s the story of an attempted kidnapping of a wealthy Roanoke woman by three immigrants and one American. Three of these lovelies are from Somalia, Sudan and Rwanda. It doesn’t say where the fourth kidnapper hails from, though his name appears to be American.

The original news was in the Roanoke Times online:

Four men accused of planning to kidnap two Roanoke County women and hold them for ransom were indicted Thursday in U.S. District Court in Roanoke.

Joshua Kasongo, 19, of Roanoke; Mohammed Hussein Guhad, 19, of Roanoke; Luke Musa Elbino, 19, of Vinton; and Anthony Eugene Muse, 18, of Roanoke are each charged with conspiring to kidnap and attempted kidnapping.

Guhad and Muse are students at Patrick Henry High School. Elbino is a student at Virginia Western Community College.

The men drove through Hunting Hills and other Roanoke County neighborhoods throughout March and early April looking for houses of residents who were wealthy enough to pay the ransom, the indictment states.


Three of the four are African nationals: Guhad is a citizen of Somalia, Elbino of Sudan and Kasongo of Rwanda. They are all legal residents of the United States. Muse is a U.S. citizen.

The indictment alleges that Kasongo would plan the kidnappings and conduct negotiations for the ransoms, Elbino would research and identify possible targets and Guhad would find a location to hold the women until the ransom was paid, the indictment said.
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Guhad also recruited Muse, who agreed to provide an unoccupied trailer in a secluded area of Roanoke County, according to the indictment.

Three of the men also researched their intended targets on the Internet.

On April 6, investigators believe the men tried to kidnap one of the women from her Southwest Roanoke home. She slammed the door closed and called police, thwarting their attempt.

Roanoke County officers saw Kasongo, Elbino and Guhad fleeing in a car, and they were arrested and charged with entering a house with intent to commit murder, rape, robbery or arson.

Roanoke County Commonwealth’s Attorney Randy Leach said he intends to consult with the U.S. attorney’s office before deciding whether to continue pursuing the state charges.

The pdf image of the affidavit filed in support of an arrest warrant is interesting for a number of reasons.

The first item that raises questions is the fact that the affidavit was filed by Special Agent Scott Mayne of the FBI. Ms. Schlussel asks where the Department of Homeland Security is on this. I agree with her since three of the men arrested are immigrants involved in an attempted felonious assault. On the other hand, this may be a turf war between the FBI and DHS. The felony is kidnapping and domestic crimes of this sort are usually handled by the FBI.

Agent Mayne states that three agencies are working on the case:

The investigation is presently being conducted by…the Roanoke County Police Department, the Roanoke Division of the US Bureau of the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms (ATF), and the FBI
What’s with the involvement of the ATF? If you read the affidavit, you’ll find they were armed with a BB gun and a tire iron. Hardly “firearms”.

The second item of interest in this affidavit is how well this was handled by the Police Department. Again, if you read through the legalese, they handled this case professionally and followed up quickly on information.

The third detail that struck me was how involved the neighbors were in these cases. If you read through the document you see that in the first case, where an attempt was actually made on one woman, her neighbor chased the car they escaped in, just because he was turning into the street and the behavior of the driver struck him as unusual - i.e., the rate of speed at which they were leaving. So he followed them until the police came along and picked them up.

You see the same kind of watchful eye by a neighbor in another case these dudes were planning. The flaw in their plan was that they were stupid enough to park on the street outside the second victim’s home several days in a row. Their behavior - parking in a residential area and just sitting there - seemed enough out of the ordinary to motivate a neighbor to call the police.

Finally, the woman they attempted to victimize was immediately suspicious of them and used her intuition to good advantage. In an earlier, less dangerous age I’m sure she would have opened the door wide to ask what the man wanted. But she observed him carefully with her foot braced against the door and then slammed the door hard on the arm of the second man who started to reach in.

Yeah, these guys are amateurs, though they claim to have successfully carried out a kidnapping and collected $35,000.00 in another state. However, the worrisome thing is that it could indicate a trend. That is, there could be other copy-cat home invasions and kidnappings of targeted women whose husbands are professionals who make good money.

Having this happen in Roanoke is a bit surreal, believe me. Southwest Virginia is rural. Roanoke is a small city in the midst of a lot of countryside and even smaller towns and hamlets. This is a mountainous, picturesque area is known for blue grass music, arts and crafts festivals, and three local colleges (one of them the infamous Virginia Tech).

These immigrants came all the way from Africa to ply their trade in the mountains of Virginia. I sure hope they are dealt with more swiftly and wisely than we have handled the pirates at sea. If not, it’s a guarantee for more of these crimes.

The creeps who do this will get smarter with practice. For a look at some examples, click on to Schlussel’s post. I certainly can’t put images like that up at Gates of Vienna, but they illustrate her point about the need for better immigration procedures. The people a country decides to let in will define what that country becomes.

People like this do not bode well for America. And there are lots of them.

By the way, President Obama wants to cut funding to the states and localities who are charged with custodial care of these criminals. He’s breaking a promise the federal government made to help cover the costs of keeping illegal alien criminals incarcerated. Of course when he was a senator he voted for the funding:

President Obama is learning the hard way that no matter which political party is in the White House, it isn’t easy to cut reimbursements to states for locking up law-breaking illegal immigrants.

Obama, to trim the $3.4 billion budget plan making its way through Congress, had proposed this week a package of $17 billion in domestic cuts. Republicans said the proposal didn’t cut enough, while Democrats objected to cutting some of the programs.

Obama may find the toughest program to cut is the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, which gives money to states to help defray the cost of incarcerating illegal immigrants who commit crimes. The $400 million program is one of the largest non-defense discretionary spending item to be cut under Obama’s proposal.

Former President Bush tried in vain to kill the program several times, facing opposition from, among others, Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- who, as senators, tried to secure additional funding for the program -- and Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, who was Arizona governor at the time.

Now Obama is facing similar opposition.

Arizona Reps. Gabrielle Giffords, Harry Mitchell and Ann Kirkpatrick sent a letter to key House lawmakers urging them maintain funding for the program. As of Friday, 17 members of Congress had signed the letter, including 12 Democrats and five Republicans from eight states.

“As Arizonans, we know the tremendous financial toll illegal immigration is taking on our state and local law enforcement agencies,” Giffords said. “As long as sheriff’s offices in Pima, Cochise and other Arizona counties are doing the federal government’s job of securing our border, they must get compensated for it. That is the fair thing to do.”

Maybe if the federal government were a little more selective about who gets in (these fellows didn’t hop over the border) it could save the costs up front?

Just an idea…


heroyalwhyness said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dymphna said...

OT is right.

I had deliberately ignored that story...

Jungle Jim said...

Dymphna, notice the race-baiting by the kidnappers in the affidavit:

"25. Guhad was advised by Officer Musser that he had stopped the vehicle because it matched the description of the suspect vehicle; Guhad advised that Victim #1 had made this up because there were black males in a white neighborhood."

xlbrl said...

Ah, the unforseen consequences--to some--of confronting piracy with cowardice in the Horn of Africa. This is only the first lesson to be ignored in the coming avalance.

PRCalDude said...

25. Guhad was advised by Officer Musser that he had stopped the vehicle because it matched the description of the suspect vehicle; Guhad advised that Victim #1 had made this up because there were black males in a white neighborhood."Yes, but they confirmed all of the stereotypes re: black males in a white neighborhood through their actions. Racial profiling works.

Dymphna said...


The 'racial profiling' wasn't an issue. If you read the whole affidavit, these idiots were setting up two victims and in one case (Victim 2) they sat in their car on her street for long periods on two different days.

Stupid move.

Proposed Victim 2 didnt call the police on them; neighbors did. And they would have if three or four young white males had been the occupants of that old car. It stuck out in that neighborhood like a "what-is-wrong-with-this-picture" exercise,especially since they returned.

On Victim One, after she slammed the door on one perp's arm and started screaming for her husband as she locked the door, the perps ran to the car, jumped in and took off. They apparently took the corner real fast and a neighbor, who was turning into the street grew concerned because of their behavior so he followed them. When the police caught up with them, he pulled over and explained what he'd seen.

It wasn't racial profiling, it was vigilance in a small neighborhood in a small city.

This is an example of small town America. People look out for one another. They're used to paying attention. This is unlike say, big cities, where bizarre behavior doesn't stand out.