Dominican lawyer for Haiti missionaries could be trafficker according to police
El Salvador police are investigating whether a man representing 10 Americans charged with kidnapping in Haiti is the same person wanted for human trafficking in the Central American nation, police said.



El Salvador police said in a statement they are working to determine if Jorge Torres Orellana could be Jorge Anibal Torres Puello, who has been presented as a Dominican lawyer for the Americans.

They re-opened the case after photos of Mr Puello emerged in international media and police are now comparing them with pictures in their records.

El Salvador police have posted the photos on their website.

"For the moment, we cannot confirm that it is the same person until we finish analysing fingerprints," the statement said.

The statement added that they were working with Interpol on the case.

On Saturday, the International Police Organisation issued a wanted persons alert for Orellana, 32, Interpol said.

It said he was a Salvadoran national accused of running an international sex trafficking ring that lured women and girls from the Caribbean and Central America into prostitution with bogus offers of modelling jobs.

Mr Puello was in Port-au-Prince for one of the Americans' court appearances earlier this week. He did not return a message left for him on Saturday.

He told The New York Times that "I don't have anything to do with El Salvador," and suggested his name was common in Latin America.

"There's a Colombian drug dealer who was arrested with 25 IDs, and one of them had my name," he told the newspaper.

The 10 Americans from the New Life Children's Refuge were arrested trying to take 33 children across the border to the Dominican Republic, 17 days after a magnitude-7.0 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people in the impoverished Caribbean nation.

The five men and five women have denied any intentional wrongdoing and say they were only trying to help orphans left destitute by the quake, which shattered the Haitian capital and left more than 1 million people homeless.

But evidence showed that most of the children still had living parents.

A Haitian judge says he has ruled in favour of the release of the missionaries.

"I just signed the request for the release of the 10 Americans submitted by the lawyers, and I have sent it to the prosecutor's office," Judge Bernard Sainvil said.

But the prosecutor, Joseph Manes Louis, said he would not work on the judge's decision until after the weekend.

That means the Americans will not be released until Monday at the earliest.


Go back | Date: 14 Feb 2010
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