Local July 29, 2016 | 3:49 pm

Dominican, Venezuela officials bust prostitution ring, shutter sex motels

Santiago.- The Justice Ministry said Friday that it shutteredthe sex motels Helios and Galaxy, owned by Juan Antonio Fernandez, who alsooperated the closed strip club Casa Blanca last May, charged with moneylaundering, human trafficking and possession of illegal weapons, and will beheld for 18 months to await trial.

Anti-Money Laundering officials raided the motels locatedon the Duarte highway near La Vega (central) Thursday morning, and at 1pm closedthe Helios, which has 56 cabanas and a restaurant. An unspecified time after,the officials said they also shuttered the Galaxy, which has 40 cabanas and arestaurant.

It also emerged yesterday that prosecutors try to locateother properties owned by Fernandez, from who the authorities last May seized US$800,000and 11 million pesos in cash, luxury cars and guns of various calibers, duringthe raid at Casa Blanca, where officials “rescued” 45 Colombian and Venezuelan women,presumably prostitutes.

On that occasion a Santiago Judicial District court sent Fernández,Grismelda Amarilis Jolvert Merejo and Venezuelan Jose Ramirez to 18 months in prison,whereas Mary Magdalene Batista and Jairo Correa were released on RD$2.0 millionbail each.

The group is charged with money laundering, human traffickingand weapons violation.

Santiago prosecutor Luisa Liranzo said Friday that theVenezuelan Johnny Eliexer Cordero Belisario, arrested by Interpol in a stingdubbed Spartacus III carried out in 25 countries, was being sought for his allegedlink to club Casa Blanca.

A red alert for fugitives was issued for Cordero, wanted oncharges of luring hundreds of Venezuelan and Colombian women to travel to the DominicanRepublic where they were allegedly forced into prostitution.

Liranzo said Cordero was linked to 45 foreign women whowere allegedly sexually exploited in Casa Blanca, adding that Santiago and Venezuelanprosecutors worked jointly to achieve his arrest. "The Venezuelan andDominican authorities are immersed in the prosecution of the accused underarrest."

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