An Elkton man accused of plotting to kidnap a Cecil County boy and then demand $300,000 in ransom from his parents – or kill the child if they didn’t comply – is behind bars after sheriff’s office investigators and FBI agents captured him, police reported Friday.
Police arrested Andres D. Flores, 36, of the 100 block of Midland Drive in the Buckhill Farms development, about 10 p.m. on Wednesday in a business parking lot off of Fletchwood Road near the Delaware line, police said.
At that time, police added, Flores was soliciting a man to abduct the boy – the last in a series of meetings Flores held during the past few weeks to discuss his plan with potential kidnappers, all of whom declined.
“He was making an aggressive effort to physically take the child, with the goal of making the family pay a $300,000 ransom for him,” said Lt. Michael Holmes, a spokesman for the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office.
Since Flores knows the targeted boy and his parents and the child and his parents know him, he approached “multiple people” to carry out his planned abduction, police said.
To that end, Flores provided prospective kidnappers detailed information during meetings with them, police added.
“He knew the child’s family has access to a large amount of money. So he solicited people to kidnap him, to the point of showing photographs of the boy and of his parents and driving them by where his mother lives and his father lives,” Holmes said, noting that the boy’s parents are separated.
Flores’ plot involved snatching the boy as he played outside his mother’s home, police said.
He instructed the potential abductors to respond violently should someone try to foil the kidnapping or if the parents failed to pay the $300,000 ransom, police added.
“He displayed a silver handgun during one of the meetings. If the mother interfered, they were to assault her,” Holmes said. “In one of the conversations, the suspect said if the ransom wasn’t paid, they’d have to put (the boy) down.”
Holmes declined to specify where in Cecil County the boy and his parents live, explaining that they are wealthy and that they had been targeted in a kidnapping/ransom scheme.
Citing the ongoing investigation, Holmes said he wasn’t at liberty to say how many prospective abductors Flores had solicited and how he chose them.
The people Flores approached have not been charged because they didn’t act on his proposed plot, Holmes explained.
He declined to say how many of those solicited people, if any, tipped off authorities after meeting with Flores.
Local investigators started focusing on Flores on Tuesday after FBI agents in that agency’s office in Wilmington, Del., alerted them of a kidnapping plot that they had uncovered, according to Holmes.
Those investigators, in turn, revealed the plot to the targeted boy’s parents and put precautionary measures in place during a quickly arranged meeting with them, Holmes reported.
CCSO Det. Sean P. Mahoney led the investigation, with assistance from FBI agents based in Baltimore, as well as in Wilmington.
After learning that Flores would be meeting a prospective kidnapper in a business parking lot off Fletchwood Road at 10 p.m. on Wednesday, investigators and deputies staged a stakeout there, police said.
After the meeting started, they swarmed and took Flores into custody, police added.
“This was a very real plot to kidnap a child and demand ransom,” Holmes said. “The suspect isn’t a family member, and there are no custodial issues.”
Homes made his comment to differentiate this case from ones in which kidnapping charges are filed – even though the suspect is a parent or guardian of the targeted child and the abduction or planned abduction relates to a custody battle.
Flores is facing five charges, including conspiracy to kidnap a child under 16 years old, conspiracy to commit theft of more than $100,000 and extortion to gain more than $500, according to Cecil County District Court records.
He remained in the Cecil County Detention Center on Friday in lieu of $750,000 bond, court records show.
Flores is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 14.