Four arrests made in new Parrita prostitution ring

Judicial Investigating Organization photo One of the men arrested in Parrita is led to a waiting vehicle for transportation to prosecutors.

Judicial agents detained a women, 31, and three men Wednesday morning as suspects in a prostitution ring that involved minors. Agents said that the Parrita-based organization had been under investigation since last August.

The Poder Judicial later identified the woman by the last names of Amador Ávila. The woman was ordered held for three months preventative detention, although prosecutors did not ask for restrictions on any of the men, said the Poder Judicial. The court hearing was in the Juzgado Penal de Aguirre y Parrita

Informal sources aid that one of the men had been an unsuccessful candidate for mayor. The men were identified by the last names of Vega Ugalde, Godínez Mora and Mora Cortés,

Last December the current mayor of Aguirre and his municipal driver were detained to face allegations that they recruited minors for prostitution. Not clear is if there is a relationship between that case and the one announced Wednesday.

In both cases, those detained were accused of recruiting young women who came from poor families.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said Wednesday that the men involved in the new case were 37, 42 and 52. The case was being handled by the Sección de Delitos Contra la Integridad Física, Trata y Trafico de Personas.

Involved are three young woman, ages 15 to 17, said the judicial police.

Last month A.M. Costa Rica recounted the efforts of an organization called Seeds for Hope that seeks to open a house in the central Pacific for girls, ages 12 to 17, who were forced to exploit their body. The story suggested that there was a thriving business in underaged prostitutes in the area.

The judicial police said it was the woman, Ms. Amador, who was in charge of recruiting girls into the business. The agency said that she tricked them by offering work with a high income only to exploit them sexually. The ring would provide out call services to local hotels, said the Judicial Investigating Organization. They said that the ring collected from 70,000 to 100,000 colons for the services of the teens. That is from $140 to $200.

The girls were kept in a home in Río Seco de Parrita which was raided Wednesday at 6 a.m. That is also where the woman lives.

She was not home when agents arrived, but she was located on the street a few minutes later, agents said.

Two other raids were also in Parrita and one was in Atenas, said agents.

There was no explanation why prosecutors did not seek restrictions on the men. Short of preventative detention, judges typically at least order the suspects not to approach witnesses and to keep themselves available for questioning.

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