By Marion Ali
Joseph Budna, 33, the Belizean who last year received a 25-year jail sentence for kidnapping an American boy for ransom, has received an additional 30 years for a similar offense.
Prensa Libre reported this week that on Tuesday, a criminal court in Zacapa, a city in eastern Guatemala, sentenced Budna to 30 years in prison for kidnapping a man and placed a ransom of Q1 million. After negotiations, the family paid Q40 thousand, and Budna released the victim in Chiquimula.
Budna, who escaped two police guards on April 21 while pretending to need medical attention, was recaptured three days later in Chiquimula as he tried to leave Guatemala. The two guards are now under investigation.
Prior to his convictions, Budna was accused of leading a kidnapping ring and posing as a healer, using the name “Doctor Joseph”, targeting wealthy families to commit extortion and kidnappings.
During the spate of his criminal activities, he came under attack and blackmail prior to his first conviction and sought the rescue of Guatemalan police. In the process, policr shot and killed one of two men who were threatening him.