Five men appear in Montreal court in connection with kidnapping of elderly New York couple
Published Tuesday, October 6, 2020 2:27PM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, October 6, 2020 7:16PM EDT
MONTREAL -- Five men appeared at the Montreal courthouse Tuesday morning in connection to the Magog kidnapping of New York couple James and Sandra Helm, which police investigators say happened at the end of September.
Father and son George and Kosmas Dritsas, Taylor Martin, Franco D'Onofrio and Gary Arnold appeared in court Tuesday morning to face charges of extortion and kidnapping. The first four defendants had appeared in court last week. They made this appearance as a pro-forma hearing following Arnold's arrest in Hinchinbrooke Friday. Another man, Graigory Brown, faces kidnapping charges in federal court in upstate New York. He was arrested after the FBI linked his licence plate to the scene.
New York State Police learned of the alleged kidnapping after James Helm failed to appear at work as highway supervisor in Moira, New York, according to affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Plattsburgh written out by Special Agent Tamara Deming of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Police went to the Helm's home, which appeared to have been broken into, and then attempted to ping Helm's cell phone. The pings put Helm's cell phone in Bombay, NY, then North Bangor, NY, then Snye, QC, where the signal started roaming.
Canadian agents raided a home in Snye that eventually led to them finding the Helms in Magog and arresting the Dritsases and D'Onofrio.
The affidavit also hinted at a possible motive for the alleged kidnapping. "Co-conspirator A stated the organization wanted Individual-1 because they believed Individual-1 had stolen 50 kilograms of cocaine."
The same day police discovered the Helms, a Drug Enforcement Agent filed charges against his grandson Macenzie Helm, and Macenzie's mother Michelle. They are charged with distributing cocaine after DEA agents arrested them in Vermont. An affidavit attached to those charges states the DEA recovered 50 kilograms of cocaine from a rented van.
The five men arrested in Montreal charged with kidnapping are slated to have a bail hearing Oct. 20 to 22.