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Author Topic: Dominican Republic arrests man sought in child trafficking.  (Read 1119 times)
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SuzieQ
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« on: March 20, 2010, 10:03:41 PM »

http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/news-22145--18-18--.html

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Dominican Republic arrests man sought in child trafficking

 
Published on Saturday, March 20, 2010 Email To Friend    Print Version

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AFP) -- Dominican police have arrested a man linked to US missionaries trying to take children out of Haiti who also is sought for exploitation of minors and other charges in three countries, officials said Friday.

The man -- identified as Jorge Torres Puello, but who also uses the name Jorge Torres Orellana -- was arrested Thursday in Santo Domingo as part of an international manhunt in coordination with US and other law enforcement agents.

Torres Puello is wanted in El Salvador for crimes against children, sexual exploitation of minors and human trafficking, officials said.

"He is wanted in the United States for criminal prosecution for conspiracy to transport illegal aliens, some from Costa Rica, El Salvador and Haiti," said Roberto Lebron, a spokesman for the National Drug Control Office.

He is also wanted in Canada on unspecified charges.

Officials said Torres-Puello presented himself as a lawyer and sought to act as a legal adviser to US missionaries who were held on kidnapping charges in Haiti after the devastating January earthquake.

US officials said he took a retainer from the families of the missionaries and represented himself to the Haitian court and international media as the attorney or spokesman for the detained Americans.

US officials said they participated in the investigation and welcomed the cooperation of Interpol and law enforcement agencies of other countries.

"The location and arrest of this fugitive, wanted by three countries on some of the most egregious charges... is an example of top-notch cooperation among law enforcement agencies in all these countries and our colleagues at Interpol," said John Morton, assistant secretary of Homeland Security in a statement issued in Washington.

Shortly after their arrest, Torres Puello contacted their church in Idaho and said he was a legal authority on Haitian and Dominican law, US officials said.

Dominican officials said Torres Puello, born in New York but holding Dominican nationality, came under suspicion after the case involving 33 Haitian children that missionaries were trying to take to the US via the Dominican Republic.

"According to documents of the US and Dominican authorities... this person is an important part of a network of alien smugglers (targeting) women and children from Central America and the Caribbean," added Lebron.
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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SuzieQ
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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2010, 10:09:51 PM »

http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/news-22152--2-2--.html

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Legal adviser to US Haiti missionaries arrested

 
Published on Saturday, March 20, 2010 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Manuel Jimenez

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (Reuters) -- A Dominican Republic man who acted as legal adviser to a group of US missionaries held for several weeks in Haiti on child kidnapping charges has been arrested in Santo Domingo, local police said on Friday.

Jorge Puello Torres, wanted by El Salvador as a suspect in a human trafficking ring, was detained at a car wash in the city late on Thursday, a spokesman from the Dominican Republic's police anti-narcotics unit said.

He was arrested in the Dominican Republic's capital on a warrant issued by Interpol, the international police organization.

US and Dominican Republic authorities had been looking for Puello after El Salvador officials said they suspected him of being involved in running a human trafficking ring that recruited Central American and Caribbean women and girls and forced them to work as prostitutes.

The allegations emerged after Puello offered his services as a legal adviser to 10 US Christian missionaries who were arrested by Haitian authorities late in January and accused of trying to take 33 children over the border into the Dominican Republic after the devastating January 12 earthquake in Haiti.

Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola.

Eight of the Americans, most of whom were members of a Baptist church in Idaho, were freed by a Haitian judge in February. A ninth was released on March 8.

Only the group's leader, Laura Silsby, remains detained and still under investigation in Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince.

The Americans denied any wrongdoing and said they had been trying to help children left orphaned and destitute by the Haitian earthquake. They said Puello had approached their relatives and church, offering his help.

It turned out that the children who were with the U.S. missionaries had living parents, many of whom testified they had voluntarily handed their offspring to the Americans in the hope they would be given an education and a better life.

The case threw a spotlight on fears that child traffickers could prey on vulnerable Haitian children after the quake. But it also distracted attention from international relief efforts to help more than a million survivors left homeless or displaced by the disaster.

Haiti's president has said the final death toll from the quake could reach 300,000
 
 

 
 
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