Missionaries’ aide probed for child trafficking
Legal adviser to Americans detained in Haiti cites mistaken identity
By Marc Lacey and Ian Urbina
The New York Times
updated 5:01 a.m. ET Feb. 12, 2010
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - The police in El Salvador have begun an investigation into whether a man suspected of leading a trafficking ring involving Central American and Caribbean women and girls is also a legal adviser to many of the Americans charged with trying to take 33 children out of Haiti without permission.

Lynsey Addario for the The New York Times

When the judge presiding over the Haitian case learned on Thursday of the investigation in El Salvador, he said he would begin his own inquiry of the adviser, a Dominican man who was in the judge’s chambers days before.

The inquiries are the latest twist in a politically charged case that is unfolding in the middle of an earthquake disaster zone. A lawyer for the group has already been dismissed after being accused of trying to offer bribes to get the 10 Americans out of jail.

The adviser, Jorge Puello, said in a telephone interview on Thursday that he had not engaged in any illegal activity in El Salvador and that he had never been in the country. He called it a case of mistaken identity. “I don’t have anything to do with El Salvador,” he said, suggesting that his name was as common in Latin America as John Smith is in the United States.
アドバイザーJorge Puelloは、木曜日に行われた電話インタビューで、エルサルバドルで違法行為に携わった事はなく、その国に行った事もないと言いました。彼は、事件を人違いと言っています。「何もエルサルバドルで行っていない。」と彼は言い、彼の名前は、アメリカでJohn Smithのように南アメリカでは多い名前と補足しています。

“There’s a Colombian drug dealer who was arrested with 25 IDs, and one of them had my name,” he said, not elaborating.

“Bring the proof,” he said when pressed about the child-trafficking accusations in the brief interview, which ended when he said he was entering an elevator. Reached later, he became angry and said he had broken no laws.

The 10 Americans have been imprisoned since Jan. 29 in the back of the same police station used by President René Préval as the seat of Haiti’s government since the earthquake. They had been told by their lawyers that at least some of them would be on their way home on Thursday. But the judge overseeing their case, Bernard Saint-Vil, recommended to the prosecutor that they be tentatively released from custody and permitted to leave the country as long as a representative stayed behind until the case was completed.
地震発生以降、ハイチ政府として大統領René Prévalにより使用されている警察署に、10人のアメリカ人が1月29日より投獄されています。木曜日に彼らは、弁護士から少なくとも何人かは帰路に付くであろうと伝えられました。この事件を見ている裁判官Bernard Saint-Vilは、代理人が滞在している限りは、一時的に拘束を解き、出国を許可してはどうかと検察に提案しました。

Mr. Puello has been acting as a spokesman and legal adviser for most of the detainees in the Dominican Republic. The family of one of the detained Americans obtained independent counsel as of Feb 7.

The head of the Salvadoran border police, Commissioner Jorge Callejas, said in a telephone interview that he was investigating accusations that a man with a Dominican passport that identified him as Jorge Anibal Torres Puello led a human trafficking ring that recruited Dominican women and under-age Nicaraguan girls by offering them jobs and then putting them to work as prostitutes in El Salvador.
(エル)サルバドル国境警察長Jorge Callejasは、電話インタビューで、ドミニカのパスポートを持つ自称Jorge Anibal Torres Puelloがドミニカの女性やニカラグアの未成年に仕事を提供するといい、エルサルバドルで売春させる人身売買を主導していた件について捜査していたと言いました。

Mr. Puello said he did not even have a passport. When Mr. Callejas was shown a photograph taken in Haiti of Mr. Puello, Mr. Callejas said he thought it showed the man he was seeking. He said he would try to arrest Mr. Puello on suspicion of luring women into prostitution and taking explicit photographs of them that were then posted on Internet sites. “It’s him, the same beard and face,” Mr. Callejas said in an interview on Thursday. “It has to be him.”

Judge Saint-Vil also said he thought that the photo of the trafficking suspect in a Salvadoran police file appeared to be the same man he had met in court. He said he intended to begin his own investigation into whether a trafficking suspect had been working with the Americans detained in Haiti.

“I was skeptical of him because he arrived with four bodyguards, and I have never seen that from a lawyer,” the judge said in an interview. “I plan to get to the bottom of this right away.”

The judge said he would request assistance from the Department of Homeland Security to look into Mr. Puello’s background. A spokesman for the department said American officials were playing a supporting role in the investigation surrounding the Americans, providing “investigative support as requested.”

An Interpol arrest warrant has been issued for someone named Jorge Anibal Torres Puello, according to the police and public documents.
警察や公共の書類によると、インターポールのJorge Anibal Torres Puello名の指名手配書が発行されています。

There were questions about whether Mr. Puello, the adviser, who said the Central Valley Baptist Church in Idaho had hired him to represent the Americans, was licensed to practice law. Records at the College of Lawyers in the Dominican Republic listed no one with his name.
アイダホ州のCentral Valley Bapist教会によりアメリカ人の代理として雇われたと言うPuello氏には、法曹界資格があるのかという疑問があります。ドミニカ共和国の弁護士大学の記録には、彼の名前に該当する人物はありません。

Mr. Puello said he had a law license and was part of a 45-member law firm. But his office in Santo Domingo turned out to be a humble place, which could not possibly fit 45 lawyers. Mr. Puello’s brother Alejandro said that the firm had another office in the central business district, but he declined to provide an address.
Puello氏は、彼は法資格を持っており、45人が所属する弁護士事務所の一員であると言っています。しかし、Santo Domingoにある彼の事務所は、粗末な物である事が分かり、とても45人の弁護士が入れるものではありません。Puello氏の兄弟Alejandroは、中央のビジネス街に別の事務所があると言いましたが、住所を伝える事を拒んでいます。

Mr. Puello said in the interview that he had been representing the Americans free of charge because he was a religious man who commiserated with their situation. “I’m president of the Sephardic Jewish community in the Dominican Republic,” he said. “I help people in this kind of situation. We’re not going to charge these people a dime.”

But other lawyers for the detainees said that the families had wired Mr. Puello $12,000 to pay for the Americans’ transportation out of Haiti if they were released, and that they had been told by Mr. Puello in a conference call late Tuesday that he needed an additional $36,000. Mr. Puello said that he had not participated in a conference call.

One lawyer for the families said that Mr. Puello had told him that he was licensed to practice law in Florida, but the lawyer said he had checked and found no such record. Mr. Puello said in the interview that he had never said he was licensed in Florida.

Mr. Puello said that he had been born in Yonkers, N.Y., and that his mother was Dominican. He said that his full name was Jorge Puello and that he had no other names. But then in a subsequent interview he said his name was Jorge Aaron Bentath Puello. He said he was born in October 1976, and not in October 1977, which the police report indicates is the birth date of the suspect in the Salvadoran case.
Puello氏は、ニューヨーク州Yonker生まれで、母親がドミニカ人と言っています。フルネームはJorge Puelloで、他の名前はないと言っています。しかし、後のインタビューで、フルネームはJorge Aaron Bentath Puelloと言っています。また、1976年10月生まれであって、(エル)サルバドルでの事件の容疑者として警察の報告書にある1977年10月ではないと言っています。

The report said the police had found documents connected to the Sephardic Jewish community in a house in San Salvador where the traffickers had held women.
報告書には、警察は、San Salvadorで人身売買者が女性を拘束していたスファラド系ユダヤ人の家に繋がる書類を見つけたとあります。

Blake Schmidt contributed reporting from San José, Costa Rica, and Jean-Michel Caroit from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Kitty Bennett contributed research.
This story, "El Salvador Investigates Adviser to Detained Americans in Haiti," originally appeared in The New York Times.


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