St. Matthews, SC (WLTX) - The FBI has rescued a Calhoun County man who was kidnapped on the orders of someone from Mexico.
Officers say the man was abducted from St. Matthews on July 9th. He was found around 5 a.m. Tuesday at a home in Cumberland County, NC.
FBI Special Agent David Thomas said the man's family began to suspect something had happened to the man when his truck was found on the side of the road with the door open. Hours after he was taken, his family began receiving demands for money from his kidnappers.
"When we looked at the facts, we saw a truck on the side of the road with the door open and the engine running. The person who owned the truck hadn't been seen by the family, they weren't at work so there was something suspicious going on so that triggered us to open a kidnapping investigation," said Special Agent David Thomas.
His family called Calhoun County deputies, who in turn contacted the State Law Enforcement Division.
It's not clear why he was taken, but the FBI tells News19 that someone in Mexico contacted people here in the United States, instructing them to kidnap the man. Three people have been arrested in connection with the case, and more arrests are possible.
"I don't think they knew the kidnappers but it was a targeted kidnapping, they were looking for him specifically and I think that is important for the public to know we aren't having random people being snatched off the street and being kidnapped this was a targeted thing. A group of people had been paid and targeted to kidnap him specifically," said Special Agent Thomas.
The FBI says the situation turned into a large-scale international effort, involving agencies across the country and over 100 agents and officers.
"The attention and resources contributed to this investigation should send a strong message that the FBI and its partners will not tolerate the kidnapping of American citizens," Thomas said.
Thomas says in his 25 years with the FBI this is the first time they've worked a kidnapping that had international ties.
The names of the suspects will be released sometime tomorrow and the investigation is ongoing.
The FBI says it won't release the name of the victim to protect him and his family.