Report: Venezuela's Tren de Aragua terrorist group infiltrates police in Chile

 

The Chilean news channel Meganoticias reported this weekend that two members of Chile’s Investigative Police (PDI) had allegedly been working with a human trafficking cell of the Tren de Aragua transnational criminal organization dedicated to the sexual exploitation of women.  Listen To Story

The two officers, identified as Nicolás Ortega Castro and Sebastián Peredo Vera, were detained in March during a crackdown operation held by PDI’s Human Trafficking Brigade, which is known as Bitrap.

The Tren de Aragua is a multinational criminal organization originating in Aragua state, Venezuela, whose crimes had largely been contained until September, when socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro ordered a bizarre “raid” of the prison housing most of the gang’s leadership. The “raid” resulted in the disappearance of gang leader Héctor “the Child” Guerrero and several other high-ranking gangsters and preceded a boom in Tren de Aragua criminal activity across the Western Hemisphere, including in the United States.

The socialist regime in control of Venezuela has repeatedly insisted in the past two months – in the face of mounting evidence of a connection between Maduro and the Tren de Aragua – that the gang simply does not exist.

Chilean prosecutor Carolina Suazo – who charged the two men and other detainees with illicit association, human trafficking, money laundering, and bribery – told Meganoticias that Chilean officials were able to determine that Tren de Aragua received information from PDI based on the testimonies of victims of the human trafficking network, which “led to the initiation of a series of proceedings related to that information.”

According to Meganoticias’ report, Tren de Aragua’s human trafficking cell was made up of 13 people, some of whom are currently in custody and others at large with outstanding arrest warrants. The trafficking cell allegedly kept at least 100 sexual exploitation victims in the vicinity of Plaza de Armas, Santiago’s main square, and used some of the city’s historical buildings, where victims were “permanently monitored and controlled.”

The trafficking victims were allegedly recruited both inside of Chile and abroad by “taking advantage of their situation of vulnerability and, in some cases, also deceiving them in relation to the conditions of payment of the fine that they acquired with the accused.”

Bitrap’s lengthy investigation, Meganoticias reported, began in November 2022 following the arrest of a 17-year-old Venezuelan girl — only identified in the report by her initials, “LAGD” — who was being sexually exploited in Santiago. The minor’s arrest eventually led local authorities to reveal a “complex plot that involves organized crime, human trafficking, and police corruption.”

“The teenager rescued in the operation was engaged in sex trade under the coercion of a cell of Tren de Aragua, which even after the arrest carefully followed her steps and knew her every move,” Meganoticias’ report alleges.

A day after her arrest, the minor reportedly received a phone call from a man who identified himself as the “father” of the minor as she was being transferred to a family court. Bitrap officials, after noticing the minor’s discomfort during the call, requested authorization to access the man’s call log registry, finding that the cell phone number had already been tapped as part of a separate investigation.

The person who called the minor was identified as Yariel Ulloa López, a Cuban national who investigations determined allegedly recruited teenagers and women for sexual exploitation and aided in the illegal entry to Chile of the victims recruited abroad.

Ulloa immediately communicated with the two detained PDI officials to find out the whereabouts of the minor, ultimately finding the address of the foster home where the family court placed the teenager.

“In the review of his call history, two names jumped out that surprised the investigators: Nicolás Ortega Castro and Sebastián Peredo Vera, active officials of the International Airport Police Department and the Eastern Robbery Brigade of the PDI,” the report says.

According to the prosecutor’s investigation, Ulloa had maintained a close relationship with the two detained PDI officials since at least October 2021. Both police officials warned Ulloa about police procedures and the places where victims were located, and provided sensitive information contained in PDI’s systems.

Ulloa reportedly answered to the leader of the Tren de Aragua trafficking cell, a Venezuelan citizen identified as Lewis Ponce Ortiz.

In exchange for their information and services, the two police officers allegedly received money, goods, and transfers from other members of Tren de Aragua and made deposits from their own accounts to “hide the illicit origin of the money received.”

Once the Tren de Aragua cell had the girl’s address, the gang sent two trafficking victims to search for her. The two women claimed to be the minor’s friends and said they would take her back to her family. The minor’s caregivers reportedly were not convinced of the two women’s story, resulting in authorities investigating them and identifying them as victims of the sexual exploitation network.

On March 15, Ulloa organized a farewell party at his residence as he was preparing to move to the United States. Bitrap officials raided Ulloa’s residence during the party, arresting Ulloa, Ortega Castro, Peredo Vera, and Aura Acosta Villalobos, a Colombian woman who managed a hair salon that allegedly served as a front company to launder the proceeds of the human trafficking network. The salon belonged to a company founded by Ulloa in October 2021.

In addition to the hairdressing salon, the trafficking cell allegedly laundered money through the purchase and sale of vehicles. Peredo Vera, one of the two police officers detained, reportedly bought a vehicle in January after receiving money from the criminal organization.

The four detainees are currently in preventive detention. The two PDI officials were “immediately terminated” from the police force following the raid.

Meganoticias noted that the police department’s official statement regarding the termination of the two officers detained “omitted the [alleged] connection” of the men to Tren de Aragua and their alleged participation in human trafficking. Meganoticias stated that they had reached out to Chile’s PDI, who declined to comment on the matter.

While the investigations have only been able to identify two officers accused of being involved in the Tren de Aragua trafficking cell, authorities have not ruled out that other officers linked to the organization may appear as the pending proceedings progress.

Christian K. Caruzo is a Venezuelan writer and documents life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Source: Breitbart 

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