Three Guatemalans who live in Alexandria, four D.C. residents, an Alexandria juvenile and a Salvadoran national in Miami were charged with kidnaping yesterday in the abduction of the wife of the former Salvadoran ambassador to the United States, rescued by FBI agents here Thursday night.
As outlines of the kidnaping emerged in court documents and statements by the FBI, Clelia Eleanor Quinones, 53, wife of former Salvadoran ambassador Roberto Quinones, told a press conference yesterday about the six frightening days during which she was held for a $1.5 million ransom.
Kidnaped outside her home in a Miami suburb, she was bound and driven in a station wagon to a District of Columbia apartment on 15th Street NW, where she was held until her dramatic rescue.
"They said they weren't going to hurt me unless my husband didn't pay," she told the crowded press conference at the FBI's Washington field office. Referring to her rescue by the FBI, she said, "I was flabbergasted. It was like in TV. I don't watch too much TV, but I remember Eliot Ness."
Charged with kidnaping in U.S. District Court in Alexandria and ordered held without bond were:
* Dora Ileana Caceres, 32, who holds the diplomatic rank of third secretary in the Guatemalan mission to the Organization of American States.
* Juan Jose Caceres, 43, her husband and an importer of Guatemalan goods, described by prosecutors in court documents as one of the alleged abductors who telephoned ransom demands to Quinones.
* Jorge Alfredo Santiago-Castro, 19, the couple's nephew.
The Guatemalan government waived Dora Caceres' diplomatic immunity yesterday, a spokesman at the embassy said. The three live at 5631 Derby Court, Alexandria.
Charged with kidnaping in U.S. District Court in Washington were:
* Jennifer Brown, 27, in whose apartment at 2327 15th Street NW Quinones was held, court documents allege.
* Mack Lewis Carr, 18, of the same address.
* Robert Anthony Gerald, 19, of 4913 Illinois Ave. NW.
* Clifford Bibbs, 23, of 1303 Euclid St. NW.
* A 16-year-old Alexandria youth.
Brown was ordered held in lieu of $10,000 cash bond. Carr, Gerald and Bibbs were held on $100,000 surety bond. All four were in custody last night, as was the 16-year-old, pending a July 25 hearing on removal of the suspects to Miami for trial.
A Salvadoran national, Guillermo Salvador Lacayo, 35, was charged in the kidnap scheme in federal court in Miami. His sister, Margarita Guadalupe Lacayo, 21, had also been arrested, but charges against her were dropped.
Although prosecutors here alleged yesterday that the abduction was "part of an international terrorist kidnaping scheme," other authorities involved said they had come to no definite decision on whether the motive might have been money, politics or some other factor. In Miami, an FBI official said that the kidnaping "seemed to be more of criminal matter," and a state department spokesman here said diplomatic officials doubted the crime was politically inspired.
In the first telephone call to Roberto Quinones, one of the kidnapers demanded a $1.5 million ransom and described it as a "war tax," authorities said. FBI officials said that in a series of about 20 subsequent telephone conversations during the six-day kidnaping, abductors mentioned various locations as drop-off points, including New York, El Salvador and Guatemala. No ransom was ever paid.
Quinones, who operates an export business in South Miami, was Salvadoran ambassador here from 1977 to October 1979, when the so-called "Young Officers" military coup overturned the military dictatorship.
The kidnaping started at 4:50 p.m. on Friday, July 8, when Clelia Quinones was returning to her home in Coral Gables after a day's work at a real estate brokerage firm, she told reporters yesterday.
She drove up the driveway of her home, shielded from the street by large hedges, and got out of her car with an armload of books.
Three men jumped her, she said. "They started yelling, 'Take her keys, take her keys.' "
Screaming, she was punched, kicked and shoved into her Mercedes-Benz, which one of the three drove away. Taken to a wooded area within a mile of her house, she was then pushed into a station wagon, its rear windows painted black. The three bound her hands in front of her with a rope tied around her neck and put bandages on her eyes, she said.
"I was trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey," Quinones said. "I was very scared." She said she quelled her fear by recalling that two of her relatives, her brother-in-law and her father, have survived abductions in El Salvador in recent years.
"My father was 78 when he was kidnaped," she said. "That's all I could think of. If he could make it, then I could."
Her captors then began what she described as a 24-hour drive, punctuated only by stops for gasoline.
Meanwhile, only minutes after the kidnaping, Roberto Quinones had been telephoned at his office and was told by a male caller, "We have your wife." Quinones hurried to the spot where the caller had said his wife's car would be, found the car and concluded the call was not a hoax.
He called his brother and then called the FBI, according to law enforcement sources. The FBI placed wiretaps on Quinones' phones.
The first break came at 9 p.m. Sunday, when the abductors allegedly telephoned Quinones' home and FBI agents traced the call to a pay phone in Miami. They went to the phone and saw a man leave the area in a rented car. Agents found it had been rented July 5 by Juan Caceres.
FBI agents began following Caceres, whom prosecutors alleged in court was the leader of the group and a communist, and said they watched him make more calls from the same phone.
The key phone call monitored by the FBI was made on Tuesday to a pay phone here, outside a hotel at 1451 Belmont St. NW, agents said. At no time was Mrs. Quinones held in the hotel. FBI agents here set up round-the-clock surveillance of the pay phone.
On Wednesday the pay phone was called again, and someone later identified as the 16-year-old Alexandria youth answered, authorities said. The youth allegedly said he would hold Mrs. Quinones only until Sunday, and then "yo tiro," which means "I shoot," according to an FBI affidavit filed in court.
Agents followed the youth to the apartment on 15th St. NW where Mrs. Quinones was being held, they said. Surveillance on the apartment began.
On Thursday, Quinones, working with FBI agents, demanded to hear the voice of his wife before he would pay the ransom. Mrs. Quinones was brought to the pay phone and FBI agents swooped in and rescued her, subsequently arresting the suspects.