Mexican football player Alan Pulido was rescued after he fought one of his kidnappers and took away his phone to call police hours after his abduction, authorities said on Monday.
Pulido, 25, cut his right wrist when he punched a glass pane on a door as he tried to flee before police saved him in a home in his northeastern hometown of Ciudad Victoria late yesterday, Tamaulipas state prosecutor Ismael Quintanilla said.
Pulido, who plays for Greek giants Olympiakos and was part of Mexico’s 2014 World Cup squad, was kidnapped late Saturday by four armed men as he returned from a party with his girlfriend in the crime-plagued region.
The woman was allowed to leave while Pulido was taken to a house, where he eventually found himself alone with one of his abductors on the first floor, Quintanilla said.
“They traded blows. (The phone) belonged to the criminal. He takes it and calls (emergency number) 066,” Quintanilla told Imagen radio.
“It all happened very quickly.”
The police swooped in within minutes and detained one suspect.
When officers heard the glass break, “they thought it was gunshots or something, and he thought that it was the other (kidnappers) who were coming back,” the prosecutor said.
Pulido had a bandage around his right hand when he appeared briefly at a news conference in the early hours of today.
Wearing a multicolor sleeveless shirt and shorts as he stood alongside Governor Egidio Torre Cantu, Pulido told reporters that he was “very well, very well, thank God.”
Officials said the injury was not serious.
The abduction put a spotlight on the murders and kidnappings afflicting the state, where thousands of people have disappeared and drug cartels have fought brutal turf wars for years.
The suspect who was arrested was from the neighboring state of Veracruz and was a member of one of the gangs operating in Ciudad Victoria, Quintanilla said.
The kidnappers had called Pulido’s family twice to demand a ransom.
Federal police chief Enrique Galindo told Radio Formula that there was “no violence” during the rescue and that no ransom was paid to kidnappers who thought they could have made a “nice profit.”
The dramatic rescue is a major success for the authorities in a state where the population is regularly terrorized by kidnappings and gunfights in the streets of large cities.