Jorge Uscamayta, Skycap Arrested In Luggage Scam, Is Dad Of Bomb-Strapped Bank Robbery Victim

How's this for a truly bizarre crime connection? Last night, Miami-Dade police announced the arrests of more than 20 curbside baggage handlers at MIA on charges that they'd taken cash bribes. One of those "skycaps" is 62-year-old Jorge Uscamayta.

If that name sounds familiar, it's because he's evidently the same Jorge Uscamayta who was held hostage at gunpoint two months ago while his son -- a teller at the Coral Gables Bank of America -- was forced to strap a bomb on his chest and extract $100,000 for a gang of bank robbers. Whaaa?

The Bank of America heist, which went down on Sept. 24, was one of the most spectacular in Miami history.

The night before, three men broke into the Kendall home of Diego Uscamayta, a 25-year-old teller, and held him and his father, Jorge, hostage. One robber stayed with Jorge, while the others drove Diego to his bank around 8 a.m. and threatened to detonate the bomb unless he entered the vault and brought them cash.

The FBI eventually found that the bomb was a dud, but have steadfastly said that the teller isn't a suspect in the crime. "He is a victim," FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela, told the Herald.

Now comes the latest twist for the Uscamayta family. Jorge Uscamayta was arrested last night along with more than twenty of his airport coworkers and charged with organized fraud.

Police say the baggage handler threatened airline security by subverting rules to put bags on planes for bribes.

The elder Uscamayta's arrest seems likely open a new line of inquiry into the FBI's bank robbery investigation. Either way, it's been an insane two month stretch for the family from Kendall.

(Thanks to Random Pixels for the tip.)

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink