The Spanish Civil Guard, within the framework of Operation Estorque, in which it has been established as the first Joint Investigation Team between Spain and Colombia at the judicial and police level, has dismantled an important international criminal organization with the arrest of seven people who exploited victims of Colombian nationality, captured by deceit and their vulnerable situation in their country of origin.
This joint work team, made up of the Civil Guard, specifically by the Human Trafficking Section of the Central Operative Unit (UCO) together with the Organic Unit of the Judicial Police of Lugo on behalf of Spain, and by the Colombian National Police (DIJIN), has been led by the head of the Examining Court Number 1 of Santiago de Compostela and by the Public Prosecutors of Spain and Colombia.
This team was able, in a coordinated manner, to transfer to a safe place several victims and relatives outside the action of this organization. Its financial system and money laundering in Colombia, the destination of the benefits from the sexual exploitation of the victims, have been dismantled.
The operation began thanks to the complaint of a victim of trafficking, now a protected witness, who recounted how she was captured in Colombia by this organization through deception and taking advantage of her economic and family situation.
Benefits of up to €35,000 per victim
The victims, once deceived with false promises of the future, were transferred to different Spanish provinces with the sole purpose of engaging in prostitution in private apartments, with the criminal organization obtaining benefits of between €25,000 and €35,000 for each one of them.
In our country, actions have been carried out in the provinces of A Coruña, Toledo and Cáceres. Three potential victims of trafficking have been released and four people have been arrested in Spain, charged with the crimes of trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation, money laundering and belonging to a criminal organization.
Three people have been arrested in Colombia, one of them considered the ringleader and greatest exponent of this criminal group, in charge of controlling all the phases of recruitment, transfer and exploitation of the victims. She also carried out threats and attacks on the women’s environment. Likewise, an international arrest warrant has been issued against another woman member of the organization based in Ecuador.
Clan of “Los Pachelly”; threats, extortion and coercion
The victims exploited in Spain were forced to deliver monthly payments to the organization as a result of their sexual exploitation, and the members of the criminal group in Colombia were in charge of threatening and even using violence against their direct relatives to end any reluctance to pay. by the victims.
These extortions and coercion were carried out in Colombia by the well-known criminal group “Los Pachelly”, with strong ties to other historical criminal clans such as the “Clan del Golfo”.
Safe transfer to Spain of the minor child of a victim
At the same time that the actions were carried out in both countries, this Joint Investigation Team managed to safely transfer the son of one of the victims to Spain, in coordination between the Colombian and Spanish authorities with NGOs and social institutions.
In the execution phase of the operation in our country, agents of the Colombian National Police (DIJIN) have directly participated, in the same way that Civil Guard investigators traveled to the South American country for the same purpose. .
Operation Estorque, directed by the Investigating Court number 1 of Santiago de Compostela, is part of the Action Plan of the Civil Guard against Human Trafficking.