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Woodside man kidnapped and held ransom in local torture chamber

38-09 43rd Avenue

38-09 43rd Avenue

May 23, 2013 By Christian Murray

The horror movie played out in a warehouse on the border of Sunnyside/LIC.

In April, a Woodside resident was walking down Roosevelt Avenue and was picked up off the street by three men and held in a de facto torture chamber in Sunnyside/LIC for over a month, according to the Queens District Attorney.

Pedro Portugal, 52, was forced into a sports utility vehicle and was then carted off to a warehouse located at 38-09 43rd Avenue, where the men were holding him for a $3 million ransom.

Portugal was held into a small room at the Sunnyside warehouse from April 18, 2013, until May 20, 2013, during which time a group of masked males burned his hand with acid, threatened to cut off his fingers and kill him. They punched him in the face and body, causing him to lose teeth and suffer multiple bruises, swelling and substantial pain to his face and body, according to the District Attorney.

One of the men allegedly then ordered Portugal to call his mother in Ecuador and request $3 million in ransom from her, which would be delivered to a person named “Tito.”

“This is a terrifying story of a businessman allegedly being forcibly abducted off the streets of Queens County in broad daylight and being beaten and held against his will,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

Pedro Portugal, 52, was initially approached on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights by Eduardo Moncayo, who called out Portugal’s name and displayed what appeared to be a New York City Police Department badge.

It is alleged that Moncayo and an unapprehended man grabbed Portugal by his shoulders and forced him into the vehicle. Once inside the vehicle, Moncayo and two unapprehended men punched Portugal in the face and body and placed a mask over his face to obstruct his vision.

As Portugal entered the vehicle, one of the men lifted Portugal’s shirt, held a knife to his stomach and ordered him not to move or else he would be stabbed. When the vehicle then allegedly proceeded to drive off, Portugal’s leg was allegedly hanging outside the vehicle.

The district attorney has brought charges against Moncayo, 38, of 700 New York Avenue, Lyndhurst, New Jersey; as well as two other men. They are Christian Acuna, 35, of 108-27 38th Avenue in Corona; and Dennis Alves, 32, of 24-16 84th Street in East Elmhurst.

The police discovered Portugal on May 20, 2013, when a detective entered the Sunnyside/LIC warehouse and observed Portugal with his hands bound with cloth.

The police observed Christian Acuna fleeing the warehouse and apprehended him on the corner of Skillman Avenue and 39th Street.

Acuna and defendant Dennis Alves kept watch of Portugal at the warehouse during the day while the Moncayo watched him during the night.

In statements made to police, Acuna said Alves hired him to watch Portugal at the warehouse for $800 per week.

Alves allegedly told police, “I didn’t treat him bad. I told him it was just business.”

The three defendants are presently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on criminal complaints charging them with first- and second-degree kidnapping and first-degree unlawful imprisonment. If convicted, the defendants each face up to 25 years to life in prison.

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I’m speechless with horror.

I drive by that building every day and have wondered what goes on in the Miller Building, as it says above a sloppy cargo bay. Kidnapping and torture did not occur to me. I hope the owners of that building are being grilled right now.

Knowing such debased souls live among us curdles my blood.


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