LAWRENCE — A 25-year-old man had a hood pulled over his head and was beaten and tortured with a hot iron by a group of men attempting to pry drug information out of him, police said.
In interviews with police, the victim, a Guatemalan national, denied any knowledge or involvement in illegal drugs. He said he was carjacked by five men at Salem and Newton streets when he went to drop a friend off around 1 a.m. yesterday.
After he was repeatedly beaten and burned with the iron, the man was robbed of $550 cash and left in the back of his van. He made it home and his wife took him to the emergency room at Lawrence General Hospital. ER staffers notified police.
The man was transferred to a Boston hospital yesterday for treatment. His condition was unavailable last night.
The victim told police he'd just dropped a friend off when the five men carjacked him.
One man forced open the driver's side door and punched the victim repeatedly in the face before pulling him into the back of the van, according to a police report.
When the victim attempted to get a look at his attacker, a gun was pressed into his face.
"You want to look, look at this," one attacker said to the man in Spanish, as he started to pistol-whip him, wrote Officer Alberto Inostroza.
A hood was placed over the man's head and he was handcuffed and dragged into the back of the van he was driving. One of the attackers then commented that they'd been watching the man "for four months."
He was driven around for about five to 10 minutes, during which he was beaten with the handgun, police said. Then, he was taken into a basement where wood and lumber were stored and tortured with a hot iron.
The top of his feet, stomach, chest and left arm were all burned with the iron. The victim said someone tried to pull his fingernails out with a pair of pliers. His attackers brought him back to the van and drove him around again for about three minutes, Inostroza wrote in his report.
Before abandoning him in his van, in the South Union Street area, his attackers removed his handcuffs and re-tied his hands with something else, he said.
Eventually, he was able to get loose and get out of the van, police said. He walked back to his house on Salem Street and asked his wife for help.
The man also was robbed of his cell phone, keys to the van, license and other personal papers, police said.
Detectives Victor Morales and Brian Voisine are investigating.