Andrew Ramirez, 24, of Los Angeles, Christopher Stone, 25, of Smiths Creek, and Steven Gonzales of Huntsville were captured while trying to enter the territory of the then Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from the direction of Macedonia.

Colonel General Nebojša Pavković, who was told by General Negoslav Nikolić that the three soldiers had been ambushed and captured in the area of the village of Slavujevac, near Preševo, also recorded his observations on the capture of these three occupying NATO soldiers.

According to Pavković, sometime before midnight, President Slobodan Milošević telephoned, congratulated the accomplishment and demanded that the captured soldiers be treated fairly.

Former NATO Secretary General Javier Solana told the press back then that NATO did not like how the Yugoslav authorities were treating the captured soldiers, who were “clearly being used for propaganda purposes.” He emphasized that if anything happened to them, he would hold Milošević responsible.

According to BBC reports, the soldiers allegedly entered the territory of Serbia by mistake, since the borders were not clearly marked. US citizens were shocked by the news that three of their soldiers had been captured by members of the Yugoslav Army. All major TV stations used the videos of the three captured soldiers, sent into the world by the Serbian Radio and TV Station, as the lead stories on their morning programs.

In one interview, President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Milošević told a US journalist that no harm would come to the captured soldiers.