Metro-East News

FBI, local police capture fugitive in Swansea; was wanted on kidnapping charges

Ortega Mitchell
Ortega Mitchell

— A 26-year-old man wanted in connection with the alleged kidnapping conspiracy — and whom federal authorities have been looking for since December — has been captured at the Swansea home of an associate, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Ortega Mitchell was arrested at about 8 p.m. Tuesday by the FBI, as well as the Swansea, Fairview Heights and Belleville police departments and Illinois State Police, according to FBI Special Agent William Woods.

“We received a number of tips since we announced the fugitive and award just over a week ago,” Woods said. “The arrest was the direct result of one of the tips. Because of the public’s help, we have arrested an armed and dangerous suspect who has been on the lam since September.”

The FBI will pay out the $5,000 reward for the information that led to the capture of Mitchell, also known as Munk Milano, who is one of three defendants who have been federally indicted in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, in St. Louis. They are charged with conspiracy to kidnap, conspiracy to distribute marijuana, and two other gun charges.

Mitchell was scheduled to appear Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

The three men stand accused in a federal indictment of luring a San Diego, Calif., man to St. Louis, kidnapping him and then demanding ransom money from his father.

Authorities arrested Damarcus Boyd, 30, on Nov. 20; and Darius Rose, 30, on Nov. 25.

The indictment against them alleges that Mitchell had duped their victim into flying from San Diego man to St. Louis in late September on the pretext of taking part in a marijuana transaction. To further the conspiracy, the defendants bought him tickets on a Southwest Airlines flight on Sept. 24.

The next day, when the San Diego man arrived, Mitchell, Boyd and another man picked him up from Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and took him to a fast-food restaurant. Later, they took the victim to a house in the metro-east. There Rose was waiting with a ski mask and an assault rifle, according to the indictment.

They took the man’s wallet and other items, tied up his hands and feet and held him captive, while demanding an undetermined amount of cash from the man’s father, according to the indictment. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the father paid the ransom.

On Sept. 30, the defendants placed the victim in a car and drove him to the intersection of Hampton and Columbia avenues in St. Louis “and told not to look back,” according to the indictment.

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000