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COSTA RICA'S LEADING ENGLISH LANGUAGE NEWSPAPER

U.S. man accused of human trafficking captured in Honduras

Honduran authorities reported Tuesday that they captured an American suspected of belonging to a human trafficking gang, possibly involved in the abduction of a minor and the disappearance of a university student.

American Gary Johnson, 63, was arrested Monday by police during a raid on the Caribbean resort island of Roatan, where he was holding a 12-year-old girl.

“It is necessary to criminalize the case at hand, in the sense of the man who was arrested with a minor, who is another appendage of a probable gang that is dedicated to human trafficking,” said Security Minister Ramón Sabillón at a press conference.

He is also linked to the disappearance of a woman identified as Angie Peña, a 23-year-old university student.

After the raid, “we are collecting, gathering, a lot of data on the potential crime scenes and that we can raise the possibility of recovering our dear Angie Peña alive,” Sabillón added.

Peña’s disappearance caused a strong impact in Honduras. She left the Roatan beach on January 1 on a jet ski and was never heard from again.

Days later her life jacket was found on a beach and then the jet ski with some of her belongings was discovered on a beach in Belize.

Authorities and the family suspect she was kidnapped.

“We have to be as hard as possible and more certain, more technical and more scientific so that all that evidence leads us to the criminalization or sentencing or guilt of the possible perpetrators” of these crimes, the official pleaded.

Police spokesman Miguel Martinez assured the press that in the raid on Johnson’s place they found videos and cell phones that link him to Pena.

“They are investigating individuals who engage in sex tourism,” he added.

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