They Were Obligated To Prostitute Themselves And Sell Drugs
Monday, July 18 2011 @ 04:58 PM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
When questioned the 60 women, separately, confirmed they were obliged to perform the above activities. Although at first they were considered to be suspects in drug related crimes, after making their initial statements before the Prosecutor for Organized Crime, they were declared to be victims and he ordered their immediate release. The Colombians were turned over to the National Immigration Service and the Panamanians were investigated to check their criminal records. Four of the women were charged for drug related crimes.
The prosecutor explained that he based his decision to order the release of those detained on Law 16 of March 31, 2004, which defines crimes against sexual integrity and freedom, among them the trafficking in persons, and which qualifies these women as victims and not criminals. He pointed out that Articles 18 and 19 of the standard require authorities to identify victims and provide protection and to facilitate their defense, in order to avoid threats or reprisals from their (human) traffickers. "The victim of human trafficking shall not be criminally liable for offenses related to immigration, prostitution or any other act resulting directly from the fact that they were trafficked," says Article 19 of the Act.
Six cases - As a result of statements made by the women, the prosecution opened files for every local raided by the First Anti Drug Prosecutor. According to Aguilar, inspections have already been conducted at the three raided locations, and their owners and/or legal representatives have been notified of the investigations that are being developed. He warned that if they are able to confirm the existence of the crime of human trafficking, both the owners and legal representatives will be called to testify.
With these three new cases there is now a total of six investigations into the alleged crimes of human trafficking being investigated by Prosecutor Aguilar. The new investigation came just weeks after a similar discovery - and the opening of the first case - involving ten European women who were also allegedly forced to work as prostitutes in a nightclub establishment located on the Amador causeway. Seven of these women are missing.
In early June, prosecutors opened another investigation after the discovery of three other European women who had also entered the country in late May with the same intentions and who were hiding in a residence located in Amador. These last three women and two more from the first group were placed under the orders of the Special Prosecutor Against Organized Crime, where they were registered as victims and sent to their respective countries. The search continues for the other seven Europeans.
The Russian - Gringo Connection: The operation that exposed the activities in the three nightclubs began early last June, after the intelligence services of the National Police (PN) received reports that young Colombian nationals were forced into prostitution and the business of selling drugs in the district of Bella Vista. To dismantle the group, undercover police officers infiltrated, under the coordination of the authorities from the Anti Drug Prosecutor's Office, and discovered that those behind the crime were men of Russian and American nationality. The leaders of the organization brought women from abroad, offering them work as masseurs, but once they were in the country they took their passports and forced them into prostitution and selling drugs.
The undercover officers originally contacted a man identified by the alias Norman, where he worked as a security officer in one of the three marked locations, and who later bought them one of the prostitutes, alias Carolina. This woman, in turn, tried to sell the undercover police officers cocaine, a drug she called "perico" as it is known in Colombia, Venezuela and other South American countries. Carolina made it clear, however, that the delivery would not be immediate and it was not until a couple of days later, on June 4, when the first delivery controlled delivery was scheduled, however it did not materialize.
The undercover police officers had $200 dollars to buy "coke" from Carolina, but because she did not come up with anything, that same night they went back to Norman who took them to the security guard at another one of the places, and he sold them five grams of cocaine for $100 dollars. The delivery occurred in the bathroom of the nightclub, wrapped in toilet paper in a plastic bag. Before the undercover police officers left, the dealer offered them ecstasy and "crispy marijuana." (Editor's Comment: What the hell is "crispy marijuana"? I'm getting old...) From that moment, the undercover police officers made at least three more controlled drug purchases between 5 and 10 June 2011. They bought cocaine, marijuana and even LSD, and in those operations they once again contacted Norman and other members of the group identified as Galiani, Leo, Toto, Tatiana and Jessica - this last prostitute offered them ecstasy and LSD in front of a well known casino in the area.
After these last purchases, the prosecutor ordered the raids which ended with the arrest and orders to investigate Norman Benson Beckford Ford, alias Norman; Osleksandr Phlischuk; Anel Elías Castillo "Toto"; Luis Yepes Arosemena "Negro Moulin"; Ángel Ramos Mesa (security guard); Anthony James Galeota "Tony", Jessica Sulay Ardila Cuervo "Jessica"; Laura Correal Horta; Walter Thorne Ubarte "Fulo", Alexander Ortega Cáceres; Olga Sablina; and Yuly Shirley Gómez Rodríguez. (La Prensa)