CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico (AP) — The first suspect charged in the kidnapping of Mexican soccer player Alan Pulido has given a statement to prosecutors confessing to the crime.
Prosecutors charged Daniel Morales with kidnapping, vehicle theft and criminal conspiracy. On Thursday, The Associated Press obtained a copy of Morales’ initial statement in which he called the abduction botched and poorly planned.
Pulido freed himself and then called police for help after the weekend abduction in Ciudad Victoria, capital of the northern border state of Tamaulipas.
Morales said Pulido initially overpowered another kidnapper, who fled. Then, armed with the first kidnapper’s gun, Pulido shot at Morales, beat him and forced him to hand over his cellphone so he could call police.
In the statement, Morales said, “He told me to put my hands up or he would kill me. I did it, and he began to hit me and called police on my phone.”
But Pulido didn’t know where he was being held, so on the call to police he can be heard beating the kidnapper, demanding to know their location.
However, Morales said he was also unfamiliar with the house and had joined the gang only after being given a phone number while in prison. He said he had been told to call the number if he wanted “to work with organized crime.”
Morales said he contacted the gang after leaving prison and had participated in its activities only by transporting money and food for kidnap victims before the Pulido abduction.
The kidnappers had demanded $325,000 (6 million pesos) from Pulido’s family for the safe return of the player, who is a forward for Olympiakos in the Greek league and has played for Mexico’s national team.
Authorities allege that the mastermind of the abduction was Osvaldo Velazquez, the husband of one of the soccer player’s cousins.
According to Morales’ statement, on the night of the kidnapping, Velazquez called him and others to carry out the abduction but they got lost, so Velazquez had to lead them to a park where Pulido was attending a party. Velazquez phoned them when Pulido was leaving the party and described his vehicle. The kidnappers then snatched Pulido and his girlfriend, who they quickly released.