A federal grand jury in Brooklyn indicted a Jamaica couple and five of their accomplices, all from the Bangladeshi community in Queens, for two alleged kidnappings in Jamaica and Woodside last year.
Abu Chowdhury, 34, and his wife Iffat Lubna, 24, have been charged with kidnapping and conspiracy to abduct two men in an indictment unsealed in Brooklyn federal court on Jan. 11, which also named co-defendants Syed Rubel Ahmed, 43, Shahed Alom, 29, and Anzu Khan, 28, all from Jamaica in addition to 38-year-old Sultana Razia of Woodside as members of the kidnapping ring.
According to the indictment, on Mar. 27, 2023, Ahmed, Alom, Chowdhury, Khan and a co-conspirator who remains at large, abducted and assaulted a man who had been walking in the vicinity of 181st Street and Hillside Avenue in Jamaica and over the course of 14 hours the victim was filmed naked standing on a residential street, beaten and threatened with death.
At one point, the victim begged for water and the defendants gave him water laced with a sedative. The victim lost consciousness and woke up the next day at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center,
A second man was abducted in front of a restaurant at 72nd Street and Broadway in Woodside on May 11, 2023 as he was waiting to meet with Lubna. He was forced into a minivan and was beaten before he was taken to a nearby hotel and allegedly sodomized by Chowdhury who later made a ransom call to the victim’s father demanding $20,000 for the victim’s safety, according to court filings.
The neighborhood where the victim was abducted is a Bangladeshi community and the defendants warned the victim that he could be easily found and attacked if he reached out to law enforcement. The victim was tied up and blindfolded and left in an abandoned house where he was able to free himself three days later by chewing through his restraints, breaking open a window and escaping and asking neighborhood residents to call 911.
“As alleged, the defendants carried out acts of brutal physical and sexual assault of the victims,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said. “The defendants allegedly exploited their shared ethnic background with the victims in furtherance of the crimes.”
Peace urged anyone who believes they were victims of the kidnapping ring to contact his office. Ahmed, Alom, Khan and Razia were arrested on Jan. 11. Abu Chowdhury and Lubna were previously arrested and will be arraigned at a later date, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York.
“The men and women of the NYPD condemn these deeply disturbing allegations,” NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban said. “We and our law enforcement partners take extremely seriously all accusations of violence and abuse and remain dedicated to eradicating such criminal behavior from the streets of New York City.”
If convicted on all charges, the defendants face a maximum of life imprisonment, according to federal prosecutors.
“The violent physical and sexual assaults these defendants allegedly inflicted upon the victims they kidnapped were disturbing beyond measure,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge James Smith said. “Violent crimes of any nature have no place in our society, and those who perpetrate such crimes will find themselves facing the full extent of our justice system — the FBI and the FBI New York Joint Violent Crimes Task Force is her to make sure of it.”