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Leader of sex ring in Trinidad linked to Asian mafia

By Mark Bassant

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The house in Westmoorings which police raided during an operation on Wednesday. Several young South American girls were rescued. Photo by Nicole Drayton

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — An Asian mafia con­nec­tion is fu­elling the mul­ti-mil­lion dol­lar world of sex slaves in Trinidad and To­ba­go, in­tel­li­gence sources close to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion have re­vealed to Guardian Me­dia.

These star­tling de­tails be­gan to emerge as po­lice gath­ered more in­for­ma­tion af­ter crack­ing what they be­lieve was a ma­jor sex and drug ring op­er­at­ing in West­ern Trinidad on Wednes­day.

On Wednes­day morn­ing of­fi­cers of the Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Re­sponse Team (SORT), Counter Traf­fick­ing Unit (CTU), Fi­nan­cial In­tel­li­gence Branch (FIB) and Child Pro­tec­tion Unit(CPU) ar­rest­ed at least 18 sus­pects in West and East Trinidad and res­cued 19 South Amer­i­can fe­males.

The young women were res­cued from the Stir Fry King Restau­rant along Ari­api­ta Av­enue in Port-of-Spain, a sprawl­ing house with a swim­ming pool along Morne Co­co Road near St An­tho­ny’s Col­lege and an­oth­er up­scale home at 61 West­ern Cir­cle, West­moor­ings.

Sources close to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion say the West­moor­ings home is owned by Edgar Aboud, who rent­ed out the home sev­er­al months ago to a Chi­nese na­tion­al.

Aboud, who spoke briefly by tele­phone with Guardian Me­dia yes­ter­day, dis­tanced him­self from the mat­ter, say­ing he had noth­ing to do with the in­ci­dent and “knew noth­ing about it.”

In fact, Guardian Me­dia was in­formed that Aboud was in the process of break­ing the ten­ant lease for the prop­er­ty and sources close to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion said a ter­mi­na­tion of lease let­ter had been placed in the ten­ant’s mail­box some time ago.

Doc­u­ments of a 33-year-old Chi­nese na­tion­al, who po­lice sus­pect is one of the mas­ter­minds of the transna­tion­al crim­i­nal net­work and rent­ed the West­moor­ings home, were ob­tained by Guardian Me­dia. The man had a Guyanese pass­port and a Ja­maican li­cense.

“You have to re­mem­ber the Asian net­work is al­so next door,” said a source close to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The source in­di­cat­ed that the Chi­nese na­tion­al was still at large and they were putting things in place to en­sure he was cap­tured soon.

The on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to this il­lic­it trade con­tin­ued to un­fold as in­tel­li­gence sources de­scribed in de­tail how the un­der­ground net­work had in­fil­trat­ed al­most every cor­ner of the coun­try.

“They want chil­dren and they want them high on co­caine and hero­in and then deal with their ghosts be­cause when you get them so high you can do them any­thing. And is pow­er­ful Asian mafia, pow­er­ful and I mean pow­er­ful! And their group is not at all an-in­clu­sive group. Their group is an ex­clu­sive group,” one high-rank­ing in­tel­li­gence source told Guardian Me­dia.

The source ex­plained that the mon­ey laun­der­ing part of the busi­ness went hand in hand with the ex­ploita­tion of the young girls. “Re­mem­ber you could buy a girl and sell her over and over and over. So you run your rental and when you done, you sell your rental,” the law en­force­ment source ex­plained.

The source re­vealed that girls are brought in batch­es every six months from Venezuela, most­ly via boat, af­ter the arrange­ments are all made with the help of com­plic­it of­fi­cials. Girls can fetch up to $10,000 a night to high-end Asian clien­tele.

“There is a six-month ro­ta­tion and when you get ro­tat­ed you are sold. Re­mem­ber the cus­tomers want new goods all the time. The younger the girls and the pret­ti­er, the val­ue goes up. It is the price of the stock,” the law en­force­ment source said.

An­oth­er source ex­plained, “This is peo­ple with plen­ty fi­nan­cial might and plen­ty net­works. Pow­er­ful net­works that can cor­rupt sys­tems. They don’t cor­rupt peo­ple. Peo­ple are in the sys­tem but they cor­rupt the sys­tem be­cause they will get pass­ports, doc­u­ments stamped, they will cor­rupt the sys­tem, so it’s sys­temic.”

The source fur­ther ex­plained that the rea­son this trade has thrived for so long un­no­ticed was due to the fact that this par­tic­u­lar com­mu­ni­ty is dor­mant.

“They are an un­der­ground com­mu­ni­ty that is very vi­brant, very un­der­ground. What hap­pened is that we ex­posed that dor­mant com­mu­ni­ty, peo­ple al­ways used to hear about the Asian mafia but no­body doesn’t re­al­ly know what they mean. Be­cause they don’t come out and make noise, so it is a big chal­lenge for our coun­try to deal with these first-world net­works be­cause we deal with gang war, but these, these net­works, they are so dy­nam­ic, they are so glob­al­ly net­worked, that they don’t need to use peo­ple in Trinidad be­cause they have cor­rupt­ed and poi­soned the sys­tem.”

Of­fi­cers al­so seized mil­lions dol­lars in cur­ren­cy from the Jam­long Casi­no in Curepe which con­sist­ed of US, Ster­ling Pounds and TT. They were un­able to say if this mon­ey was in any way con­nect­ed to the drug and sex ring but are con­tin­u­ing their in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Of­fi­cers FIB were up to late yes­ter­day ver­i­fy­ing the ex­act amount of mon­ey they re­cov­ered.

But sources say it could pos­si­bly be more than TT $5 mil­lion in to­tal. —With re­port­ing by Hema Ramkissoon

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