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Men Involved in Kidnapping Plot Sentenced
All Four Defendants to Serve Substantial Time in Prison

U.S. Attorney’s Office November 03, 2009
  • Western District of Virginia (540) 857-2250

ROANOKE, VA—The four Roanoke men who planned to kidnap the spouses of prominent local doctors and business owners in order to collect ransom money were sentenced yesterday in U.S. District to prison terms ranging from 54 to 66 months.

Mohammed Hussein Guhad, 20, Anthony Boyd-Muse, 18, Joshua Kasongo, 19, all of Roanoke, Va. and Luke Elbino, 20, of Vinton, Va., were indicted in May 2009, in relation to participating in a conspiracy to commit kidnapping for ransom. All four defendants pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy in relation to a plot to kidnap for ransom in July 2009.

Today in U.S. District Court, the following sentences were handed down:

Guhad - 66 months incarceration.
Boyd-Muse - 54 months incarceration.
Kasongo - 66 months incarceration.
Elbino - 66 Months of incarceration.

“Crimes of violence, such as the attempted kidnapping of innocent people, will be dealt with in a swift and fair manner. The residents of the Western District must be able to own the peace of mind that they are safe inside their own homes. When that piece of mind is attacked, like it was by these four men, this office has the duty to bring the violators to justice,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today.

According to a statement of facts read into the record at a previous hearing by Assistant United States Attorney Charlene R. Day, in March 2009, Guhad, Boyd-Muse, Kasongo and Elbino, began discussing a plan to kidnap wealthy women in the Roanoke area, hold them captive and force their husbands to pay ransom for their safe return.

The defendants researched potential targets, conducted surveillance in upscale neighborhoods, bought rope, handcuffs, and disguises, and even secured weapons and a stash house for their victims. Several times during this period the defendants sat in parked cars outside or near the homes of potential targets, some of whom were associated with the medical profession.

On April 6, 2009, the defendants’ planning became reality. At approximately 11:45 a.m., Elbino called the home of their target and asked if her husband was at home. The victim responded that he was not. Later in the day, Guhad and Elbino knocked on the victim’s door. The victim opened the door just a crack and kept her foot pressed against it at all times.

While standing at the door, Guhad asked the victim if she would participate in a Red Cross survey. The victim stated that her husband was on the board of the Red Cross and asked what it was they wanted. At this point one of the men stuck his arm through the opening of the door into the victim’s residence. The victim closed the door on his arm, throwing her body against the door and ran into the home screaming for her husband. Both men ran from the home back to their car, which was parked several blocks away and occupied by Kasongo.

After seeing the two men flee from the victim’s home, neighbors contacted police who stopped the defendants’ vehicle shortly thereafter. At the time of the stop, Guhad, Elbino and Kasongo were in the vehicle. Kasongo was driving.

At the time of the traffic stop police recovered a BB gun, tire iron, black back pack, two sets of handcuffs, two packages of new poly rope, one pair of binoculars, three brown cotton gloves, duct tape and a laptop computer. Computer analysis of the laptop found that it was used to research residential and commercial property values, ownership, and locations of prominent Roanoke residents.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Roanoke County Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Charlene R. Day prosecuted the case for the United States.

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