The terror went on hour after hour for a husband and wife in Miramar.
A trio of aspiring rappers broke into their home and demanded that the couple turn over $20,000, prosecutors say.
Then the three holed up in the couple’s home overnight, consumed their food and liquor, and forced the woman to drive from ATM to ATM the next day to withdraw the money, according to court documents.
When the husband went to the garage for a cigarette, one of the intruders raped his wife, a criminal affidavit states.
The gang’s alleged ringleader, Kejuan Brandon Campbell, 26, is a star in the local Broward underground rap scene who goes by the stage name Splash Zanotti.
A federal criminal affidavit says Splash Zanotti and his two accomplices, Dionte Alexander-Wilcox and Antonio James, forced their way into the couple’s home at gunpoint while wearing masks on the afternoon of Oct. 11.
The three are accused of kidnaping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping, crimes that carry a maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted. Alexander-Wilcox is also accused of being a felon in possession of a weapon. No charges have been filed in the alleged rape.
Splash Zanotti and Alexander-Wilcox appeared in federal court for the first time Friday. James is set to make his first appearance Dec. 28. Attorneys for the three men either declined to comment or could not be reached.
A representative of the 26-year-old star rapper from Tamarac shared a video of his arrest Saturday on Instagram, where Splash Zanotti has over 100,000 followers. Appended to the video was a message in which the rapper maintained his innocence.
Through representatives, the kidnapped Miramar couple declined to be interviewed for this article. The pair are not identified in court documents, and the South Florida Sun Sentinel does not identify the victims of alleged sexual assaults.
“These are totally innocent victims,” said an official familiar with investigation who asked to remain anonymous.
According to his website, Splash Zanotti was a close friend of the murdered rapper XXXTentacion and is associated with burgeoning local rap stars like Lil Pump and Ski Mask the Slump God. Almost 300,000 people listened to his music over the streaming platform Spotify in 2020. Alexander-Wilcox and James, who go by the stage names Yung Fokiss and TrapSavage45, respectively, are lesser known, but active in the local music scene.
A suburban kidnapping:
Here’s how court records say the kidnapping happened.
About 3:30 p.m. Oct. 11, Alexander-Wilcox went to the victims’ window and asked for “Anthony.” The wife told him they hadn’t talked to Anthony, their nephew, in years.
Anthony-Wilcox said he couldn’t hear her well, but when the wife opened the front door to talk, he put a gun to her forehead and barged inside.
Splash Zanotti and James, armed and wearing masks, followed him. The three men ordered the husband and wife to the ground at gunpoint and told them to download a mobile payment service called Cash App onto their phones and begin transferring $20,000 dollars to the alleged assailants’ accounts.
Anthony, the three men said, owed them a debt. And they were there to collect it from his family.
Cash App didn’t work, though it’s unclear from court records why.
Splash Zanotti then had the wife write out checks and forced her at gunpoint to accompany him to cash them.
First they tried the Amscot at 314 N. University Drive, with no luck. Amscot declined to process the transactions. Then Splash Zanotti drove the wife to the Publix at 600 University Drive, where he tried to use her debit card to purchase $20,000 in money orders. Court records say Publix also denied the transaction.
Frustrated, Splash Zanotti took the wife back to her house, where the three intruders spent the night. Sometime after midnight, the criminal affidavit says, one of the three men raped the wife at gunpoint.
The next morning, Splash Zanotti drove the wife to the SunTrust bank in Miramar and another in Pembroke Pines. Both banks were closed.
“Campbell got angry and frustrated,” the criminal affidavit states. “He began using his cellphone to conduct an online search to determine why the banks were closed. It was then he realized it was Columbus Day, a federal holiday.”
After abortive attempts to withdraw the $20,000 at the Miami Casino and a Walmart in North Miami, Splash Zanotti returned with the wife to the couple’s home. There, he told the wife to call her bank and increase her ATM withdrawal limits. With the limits increased, Splash Zanotti, the affidavit states, was able to drive the wife to three separate ATM’s where they withdrew $20,000 in cash.
Catching the rappers
The criminal affidavit does not say when the three alleged kidnappers released their victims, but it does give clues about how the three men were tracked down.
The first is a cellphone video shot by James. The video shows Splash Zanotti sitting in the driver’s seat of a vehicle, counting money from a large stack of dollars. The video shows Alexander-Wilcox in the back seat of the car.
“Don’t worry, I ain’t posting this,” James says in the video, according to court records.
But just over a month later, James was arrested after cops from the Broward Sheriff’s Office pulled over a car in which he was a passenger. After running a background check on James, the officers discovered that he had an outstanding warrant for armed robbery, arrest paperwork says. The cops also discovered that James, a convicted felon, was carrying a gun.
The cops seized James’ cellphone. On it was the video of Splash Zanotti counting cash.
A Department of Justice news release on Monday said Splash Zanotti and Alexander-Wilcox were arrested Dec. 16.
Splash Zanotti and Alexander-Wilcox are scheduled for detention hearings in Fort Lauderdale federal court on Dec. 28. It is expected that federal prosecutors will ask that they be detained pending trail.