Adviser to US Missionaries on Run From Police

Jorge Puello admits he is the man being sought in El Salvador
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2010 6:57 AM CST
Jorge Puello arrives at the court building in Port-au-Prince to represent the jailed American missionaries, Feb. 8, 2010.   (AP Photo/Javier Galeano)

(Newser) – Dominican police and US agents are trying to hunt down Jorge Puello, the Dominican man who was serving as legal adviser to the American missionaries jailed in Haiti. Puello, who originally had denied ever having been to El Salvador, now admits to the AP that he is wanted in El Salvador for human trafficking. Police allege he lured women and girls into prostitution by promising fake modeling jobs.

Puello now acknowledges having five children in El Salvador, and a wife who’s already in jail on the same charges. Calling the AP from an unknown location, he said he’d fled the Dominican Republic to avoid arrest, but was “planning to go to El Salvador to tackle this problem. I am not afraid to face the music.” He says he and his wife had merely taken in young women who’d been abandoned by smugglers, and that the girls had made up the prostitution story. Meanwhile, the 10 American missionaries arrested for trafficking won't be released before tomorrow: Yesterday a power outage held up their paperwork, and today is a national holiday.

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