Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Argentine woman appears before Mexican federal prosecutors to present evidence of prostitution ring; implicates her father with Los Zetas, crooked INM agents

Accuser is under heavy security due to "death threats" by "ex-spy" Raúl Martins

When I posted 48 hours ago on the Lorena Martins story, I suspected that her about-to-be-delivered allegations would be a bit spicy -- as sex scandals usually are. But they've turned out to be green chile hot, and not just because prostitution is the underlying theme.

Martins, 35, is an Argentine who claims that her father, Raúl Martins, runs an international prostitution ring which imports women to Mexico. By itself that wouldn't be much of a story, except that Raúl once worked as a secret agent for Argentina's Secretaría de Inteligencia del Estado (State Intelligence Dept.). The Latin press takes delight in referring to him as an "ex-spy."

Ms. Martins says that her father, who lives in Mexico, is well-connected with powerful businessmen, politicians and government officials in this country, as well as with Buenos Aires police and Argentine intelligence service officials (whom she alleges are involved in the ring). According to Lorena, the prostitution network runs sex-for-hire operations in Argentina's capital, plus Cancún, Playa del Carmen and Tijuana. She claims that although most of the trafficked women are Argentine nationals, there are some Brazilians as well. The women are shipped all over the world, according to Lorena, "against their will." Here's my original post:

Lorena Martins arrived incognito in Mexico City yesterday (Jan. 31) to testify before the Special Commission Against Human Trafficking of Mexico's lower legislative body, the Cámara de Diputados, which is equivalent to the U.S. House of Representatives. But she also paid a little visit to Mexico's Attorney General, and turned over calenders, cell phone records, e-mails and other documents which supposedly prove her claims.

In an interview with the Milenio news network today, Lorena said that the names in her father's black book include federal deputies (they're the same as U.S. congressmen), political party bosses, a former state governor (probably of Quintana Roo, but that's just a guess on my part), people affiliated with the Cancún city government and "newspaper people." She also alleged that her father has a "long relationship" with the Los Zetas cartel, Mexico's most feared drug wholesaler-and-decapitation gang. If you don't know who Los Zetas are, you need to start reading this Blog more.

Lorena said that Raúl threatened -- and tried -- to have her killed after she learned about the true nature of his business, which masquerades as a chain of up-scale restaurants and night clubs. Apparently Mexican authorities believe her. Milenio reports that Lorena has been placed under heavy guard while she is in this country.

Here's the most interesting part of Lorena's allegations. It occurred to me that maybe -- just maybe -- some corrupt Mexican immigration (INM) agents might be working with her father. After all, if the underlying prostitution ring story is true, and visas and work permits are being arranged for all these young women entering Mexico at the behest of their kind sponsor, Raúl Martins, then almost certainly he would need some help from inside the country's immigration agency. INM has been involved in such capers before, including a high profile case right here in Mérida in 2009. So I wrote a second post on that aspect of the case two days ago (link below). It looks like my hunch may be right. Lorena claims her father is in thick with corrupt Mexican immigration agents, who purportedly assist Sr. Raúl. And I have trouble getting my own documents renewed . . .

Raúl Martins denies each and every one of his daughter's allegations, it should be noted. He describes himself as just an "Argentine businessman" who is the victim of an attempted extortion by Lorena and his ex-wife. Concerning the alleged incriminating evidence, Raúl says, "Bring it on. I'm ready to deal with it. I've done nothing wrong. I'm at peace."

Was Mexico's immigration agency involved?:

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