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Thursday, April 17 2014 @ 02:34 PM EDT

They Were Obligated To Prostitute Themselves And Sell Drugs

Crime & PunishmentThe sixty women who were arrested early last June after a series of raids on nightclubs in Bella Vista, in the heart of the capital, told authorities they were forced into prostitution and selling drugs. This was confirmed by the prosecutor against organized crime, Marcelino Aguilar, who said these Colombian and Panamanian women were initially detained during a series of raids performed by the First Anti Drug Prosecutor in three establishments, that according to evidence found functioned as clandestine brothels where cocaine, marijuana and other banned substances were sold. Aguilar said they found six rooms in each of the businesses raided, two of them located on Via Veneto and one in the banking area, with furniture, designed for the practice of pimping. The three establishments were closed. (Editor's Comment: Habano's was originally closed as part of these raids, and it's now back open.)

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)

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They Were Obligated To Prostitute Themselves And Sell Drugs | 3 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
They Were Obligated To Prostitute Themselves And Sell Drugs
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, July 18 2011 @ 05:59 PM EDT

I think there is a version of pot called "crippy" (not sure of spelling). It's supposed to be the "good" stuff. Maybe he meant to say "Crippy marijuana"? Other than that, then I'm getting old too.

They Were Obligated To Prostitute Themselves And Sell Drugs
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, July 18 2011 @ 11:20 PM EDT

"crispy" is how I've heard it called and it's supposed to be the good stuff. I am old but knew that. Anybody for KFC extra crispy?

They Were Obligated To Prostitute Themselves And Sell Drugs
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 03 2011 @ 01:12 AM EDT

I can't speak for everyone, but I can speak for the American, Tony, that is locked up in La Joya to this very day. The bottom line, is that he is being held in jail based on nothing. The found no drugs on him, and they found no drugs in Dollhouse. (Certainly not the big haul they expected) The had a full investigation into a "crime syndicate" but neglected to check the man's apartment for drugs? Makes no sense.

The only drugs found were very small amounts that were on a dancer (selling on her own for her own gain) and the two guys who were always stationed outside. One of which was not even employed by the club. He was a street promoter and only was paid commissions based on the customers he could bring in. From seeing the TREMENDOUS amounts of cocaine found in Panama (700+ kilos in every story you report) the tiny amount of drugs they found in their investigation is completely laughable. Imagine they had this two week investigation, and they came up with so little. It has to be a little upsetting.

As for human trafficking, that too just isn't the case. All the girls that worked at Dollhouse (who weren't Panamanian) had their paperwork. AND EVERY ONE OF THEM HAD THEIR PASSPORTS!!! I repeat...EVERY DANCER HAD THEIR PASSPORTS!!! Not one girl ever had her passport taken from her against her will. The proof of this is in the fact that when all were detained, they were able to show them. This is fact. Not only did they have their passports, but these girls were living normal lives in Panama. They were not forced into anything. Like you said Don, these Colombian girls know exactly what they are getting into. As a matter of fact, Tony bought every girl a cell phone so they can call home and communicate with whomever. He helped them send money back to Colombia via Western Union. They lived in their own apartments together. They had social lives and even boyfriends. Some even went back home to Colombia because they didn't like Panama or didn't like the work or the club. They were all allowed to leave. Sorry, this is not human trafficking. These girls came and went as they pleased.

What has really happened here is quite simple. One dancer caught with drugs blamed the owner (Tony) saying he forced her into drug sales and prostitution. It is an outright lie and they just went with her bullshit story. BTW, she has skipped town and is the only dancer who went back to Colombia as fast as she could. All the others are still in Panama working the independent scene. But Don, you know there is more. There is corruption and power plays involved here. The Moulin Rouge Russians ruffled feathers with their immigration connections. Clubs were closed and raided and they seem to have snapped back with their own connections in the Drug Justice Dept.

I have even heard that the woman who headed the old immigration regime (her name escapes me) is now the owner of a new club very close to Via Veneto. Perhaps she had some say in all this. I mean having competition eliminated isn't such a bad thing for a new club.