A WhatsApp message helped National Police officers on the Costa del Sol to free a couple who had been kidnapped and held for two days, against their will, in Marbella.
The abducted pair were released and their three alleged captors, all British and with police records were arrested. Two of them were wanted by the authorities in the UK in connection with other offences.
The police operation started on 9 September, when a young man went to the National Police station in Marbella claiming that a couple was being held against their will. He said that had received a WhatsApp message from one of the victims, who took advantage of the fact that the kidnappers had fallen asleep to send it and ask for help.
The couple was being held at their home and the police formulated a plan to free them. They knew, from the information they had been given, that there were three kidnappers and that they could be armed.
When officers raided the house, the alleged captors tried to escape across a terrace, but all of them were detained and found not to be carrying weapons. However, when police searched the home, they found a loaded gun hidden in an air conditioning unit.
The officers released the two victims, who were bound with cable ties. According to the investigation, the kidnapping centred around an alleged debt that one of the victims had with an organisation.
The kidnapping had happened two days earlier, on 7 September, when, according to the victims, they had arranged to meet a friend for dinner, who told them that two more people would be joining them.
When the couple showed up at the restaurant, no one was there. Then, the friend pointed them to a new location. He asked them to pick up the two people who were joining them for dinner and to go to another restaurant. They did so.
According to the police, the couple picked up these two individuals and, on the way to the restaurant, one of the abductors allegedly pulled out a gun. The couple was tied up and taken to a field, where they stayed for several hours. Then they were taken back to their house for the remainder of the time.
Those arrested have a police record for drug trafficking and other violent crimes and are considered "very dangerous" by the UK authorities. Two of the detainees were subject to arrest warrants for having broken probation terms.
One of the victims - the man, who apparently had the debt - was also arrested for an alleged crime of the falsification of document.