8 charged in kidnapping of Nats’ Ramos

Prosecutors charged eight people Wednesday with the kidnapping of Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos in his home country of Venezuela, five days after he was dramatically rescued.

The eight were accused of aggravated kidnapping, plotting to commit a crime and using a stolen vehicle, among other offenses, a statement from the prosecutors’ office said.

Two of the suspects also were charged with resisting arrest and weapons possession, it added.

The 24-year-old catcher, snatched by gunmen near his parents’ home last Wednesday, was rescued in a hail of gunfire Friday when security forces raided the remote mountain hideout where he was held.

Venezuelan authorities earlier said there were six Venezuelans and five Colombians detained in the case, but on Wednesday authorities did not give the nationalities of those charged.

Ramos, who had been training with the Aragua Tigres, a Venezuelan winter league team, said he believed his kidnappers were from neighboring Colombia, citing their accents.

Kidnapping is not unusual in Venezuela, and many cases are resolved within hours or days after payment of a ransom.

In 2009, there were 16,917 kidnappings in the country, although some nongovernment organizations estimate the number is higher.

Though this was the first time a professional baseball player has been kidnapped in Venezuela, relatives of players have been snatched in recent years.

The Nationals acquired Ramos, 24, from the Minnesota Twins in a trade in July 2010. As a rookie in 2011, he hit .267 with 15 home runs and 52 RBI in 113 games.