The last of five alleged Pico Rivera gang members accused of holding a man for five days and toruring him over a debt is behind bars, officials said Wednesday.
Francisco Javier Francis, also known as Javier Francis, 48, has been a fugitive since three co-suspects were arrested in connection with the kidnapping, torture, mayhem and extortion case, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials. A fourth suspect, Francis’ son, was arrested earlier this month.
Francis was arrested about 10:40 p.m. Tuesday after deputies assigned to the sheriff’s Problem-Sepcific Policing Team spotted him in the 9100 block of Bermudez Street, officials said.
“(Francis) tried to flee from them,” sheriff’s Lt. Robert Smith said.
There was a “brief scuffle,” he added. “Deputies used minimal force to apprehend him.”
Francis now joins four other alleged gang members already in custody in connection with the alleged series of crimes.
They include his son, Xavier Francis, 26, who was arrested June 5, as well as Francisco Javier Barraza, 35, Alfonso Acuna, 32, and George Steven Karavolos, 37, who were arrested May 23, according to officials and booking records.
All five suspects are reputed members of the Rivera 13 street gang, investigators said.
They are accused of kidnapping a 32-year-old Pico Rivera man and his 31-year-old wife May 18 because the man owed Karavolos about $200, according to sheriff’s gang investigator Lt. Erik Ruble.
The woman was released with orders to fetch $6,000 in exchange for her husband’s safe return, he said. The kidnappers demanded she sign over the pink slip of her car at gunpoint.
While keeping the man hostage in a garage in the 8800 block of Clarinda Avenue, the suspects taped him to a chair, used a heated knife to burn a four-letter word into his stomach in large letters, smashed his fingers with a handgun and cut his ear, Ruble said.
Additionally, the captors also pointed a gun at the man’s head and threatened to kill him in the presence of his his wife, officials said.
The man was freed May 18, as the suspects drove him around the area ordering him to commit crimes for them, gang investigators said.
The captors took the man to a Montebello business where he was ordered to cash a check, but was denied, officials said. They suspects then allegedly ordered the victim to break into a car for them.
Resident called police, who arrived and arrested the man, according to Sgt. Mark Bailey. The arrestee showed police the letters burned into his stomach and explained he had been kidnapped and forced to commit the crimes.
According to county booking records, Francisco Francis, Xavier Francis, Karavolos and Barraza were being held in lieu of $4 million bail, while Acuna’s bail was set at $5 million.
Francisco Francis was scheduled to appear for arraignment Thursday in Whittier Superior Court, while the other fours suspects were scheduled to appear in court July 10 for a preliminary hearing.
PHOTO of Francisco Javier Francis courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.