According to The Providence Journal, two central Connecticut bail bondsmen were arrested in February for an alleged illegal apprehension in Rhode Island Island. Both pleaded not guilty in court on September 11th.
They are vowing to fight the charges.
The bounty hunters, identified as Angel Guadalupe, 45, of Bristol, Connecticut, and William Sobota, 40, of Burlington, Connecticut, had learned that a man wanted in Connecticut on misdemeanor charges was going to be in Providence District Court, so they went there to pick him up, a news release from the Rhode Island State Police said.
Connecticut bounty hunters have no authority in Rhode Island, the news release said.
The two are accused of kidnapping a Providence man at Providence District Court who was wanted on a warrant in Connecticut for cannabis possession and failure to appear.
At the time of their arrest, Rhode Island State Police said the bondsmen’s warrant for the suspect was deemed “non-extraditable” and that it was against protocol for a suspect to get handcuffed or transported in the hallways of the court.
According to an affidavit obtained by NBC 10 News, a sheriff had removed the suspect, Julien Vasquez, from the cellblock, placed handcuffs on him, and released him to the bounty hunters in the public area outside the cell block.
Guadalupe and Sobota took Vasquez out into the main hallway and, with the help of Capitol Police, he was escorted out of the building and placed into a van without incident.
The affidavit also says Vazquez told a sheriff he had been informed that the bounty hunters were here to pick him up and he agreed to go with them.
But in an interview state police did with Vazquez after Guadalupe and Sobota were arrested, he indicated the bondsmen grabbed him “Real sternly, real hard,” that he was removed from the courthouse against his will, and that the bondsmen “mocked me and made a big joke about everything.”
The Rhode Island Attorney General’s said that there is no state law that authorizes bounty hunters, “as such the state laws on kidnapping and assault apply the same to bounty hunters from other states as to citizens here.”
But Guadalupe argued there’s no law that specifically bans bounty hunting in Rhode Island.
Both suspects are due back in court Nov. 19.
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