The National Counterterrorism Unit of the Judicial Police with the help of Navy,
Maritime Police and Portuguese Air Force personnel swung into action after the 28-year-old kidnap victim managed to send a SMS message last Thursday to a friend in France who alerted the Portuguese authorities.
The message stated that the sender had been kidnapped in Portugal and taken out to sea by another Frenchman, a 42-year-old already being referred to as "being involved in organised crime," back in France.
Portugal’s police spokesman stated that the case had all the hallmarks of a potentially damgerous and violent situation.
According to the Navy's spokesman, Commander Pereira da Fonseca, the friend of the victim contacted the French authorities who contacted the Judicial Police. In less than 24-hours, it was discovered that the yacht already had left the port of Leixões, destination unknown.
Police said the kidnapper was looking to take delivery of a stash of drugs in Morocco.
When it was located, it was already "400 kilometres from the coast," said the Commander, adding that, "We usually collaborate with the Police in cases of drug trafficking, but in 28-years, I do not remember a kidnapping situation."
The yacht was identified by the Maritime Police and the Special Marine Unit and a plan was devised to board her.
Two Police inspectors were dropped by helicopter on to a corvette, the Jacinto Cândido and a raid on the yacht was launched on Saturday. Details of the modus operandi have been kept under wraps.
The French kidnap victim showed no signs of having been harmed.
The kidnapper was placed in custody Sunday following Saturday's operation which police said turned up some 350,000 euros ($400,000) in cash.
The young man has given his account to the Police and to a judge in court. The alleged kidnapper was heard on Sunday by the judge and was remanded in custody.
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Source : Daily Star - Algarve Daily News