While an intensive search was conducted by Venezuelan Police for an American lieutenant colonel who was kidnapped last Friday (9 October) he was released Monday night (12 October).
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Background: While an intensive search was conducted by Venezuelan Police for an American lieutenant colonel who was kidnapped last Friday (9 October) he was released Monday night (12 October).
The victim. Lieut. Col. Michael Smolen, deputy chief of the United States military mission in Caracas, was put out of a car blindfolded in Caracas. Police found him almost immediately.
Lieut. Col. Smolen was kidnapped as he left his Caracas home Friday morning. Five leftist terrorists armed with sub-machine guns seized him and said he would be executed if a Viet Cong prisoner under death sentence in Viet Nam is executed. Later the leftist captors sent word they would try the American officer. Then he was unexpectedly released.
Police and military guards put up road blocks before he was found and searched car after car. It was reported they have arrested 11 suspected terrorists, including two who admitted taking part in the kidnapping. Police also said they had raided an apartment where the officer had been held, but removed just before they got there.
One suspect has been identified as a high officer of the outlawe Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN) a pro-Castro organization.
The U.S. Charge d'Affaires, John Hill, credited the Venezuelan police with forcing Lieut. Col. Smolen's release.