Three people arrested in a human trafficking ring in Táchira state

The Tachira police arrested three men, allegedly from the Los Valencianos gang, who were leading two underage girls towards the Venezuelan-Colombian border. The three were charging for human trafficking and sent to the Prosecutor Office, while the two girls remanded to a shelter for minors.

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The three detainees remain at the Capacho Viejo police headquarters. Photo by Táchira police.

By Lorena Bornacelly.

On June 28, Táchira state police arrested three men and two teenage girls on a soccer field, in the municipality of Capacho Libertad. The group was presumed to head for the border.

Police said parents were unaware of the whereabouts of the minor until contacted post-arrest by law enforcement. The detainees were all given a rapid test to discard COVID-19 infection with negative results in all cases.

Capacho is approximately 20 minutes from San Antonio del Tachira, a city on the border with Colombia, and it was therefore credible that they were heading there. However, the border axis is under quarantine and isolation as a preventive measure against COVID-19.

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According to the information provided by a police officer to El Pitazo, specifically in the La Palmita sector, the suspects were interrogated and had inconsistencies in their answers. They indicated that the minors, aged 13 and 16, were not their kin and, when the police checked adults the database, they found that they had a criminal record.

“They said they were coming from Valencia and going to the border to work, the two girls were not related to the men. We called the (child services agency) Council for the Rights of Children, and they communicated with the parents of the minors, and they said they did not know where the girls were,” detailed the police source.

After investigating, the Tachira police found that Eduardo Estrada, 22, and Josue Parra, 30, had a police record for drug possession in 2013. Deiver Villasano, 21, was arrested with them. All from Valencia, Carabobo state. The Prosecutor’s Office charged them for the alleged crime of human trafficking.

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After the arrest of the adults, the girls, who are sisters, told the officers that they were taken to the border, allegedly to work in Ureña, but, later they learned that they are taking to the Colombian side without warning.

The girls went to a shelter in San Cristobal under the protection of the State, while the Prosecutor’s Office is conducting the investigation.

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