[Stop-traffic] News/US: Peruvian police colonel, wife plead guilty to child smuggling

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/US: Peruvian police colonel, wife plead guilty to child smuggling
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Wed Nov 15 2000 - 09:24:54 EST

Peruvian police colonel, wife plead guilty to child smuggling
By Catherine Wilson
The Associated Press, October 25, 2000

MIAMI (AP) -- A Peruvian police colonel and his wife pleaded guilty
Wednesday to trying to smuggle three youths posing as their children
into the United States.

The trip ended Aug. 30 when an immigration agent at Miami
International Airport noticed that one of the supposed children of
the couple did not match his passport photo.

Juan Jaime Ruiz Gomez, 52, and Olinda Violeta Calderon Casas, 39,
admitted during questioning that they had been promised $4,500 to
bring three youths to Miami. One was 23, another was 20, and the
third was identified in court only as a minor.

Calderon told U.S. District Judge Shelby Highsmith that three were
traveling on her own children's passports.

Prosecutor Melissa Damian told the judge that the youths met Ruiz at
his office with the national police and understood he had connections
with immigration officials to get false visas.

Asked if she accepted the prosecutor's description of events in the
case, Calderon said: "She said it from a different point of view."
Calderon already had told the judge, "We came up here with those
individuals with the motivation of seeking a better life."

Damian had said the youths were coached about what to do when they
arrived in Miami, but Calderon added: "We weren't the people who were
actually coaching them. It was the people who brought them to us."

Ruiz gave perfunctory answers in court, offering no explanation for
the crimes he admitted.

Both pleaded guilty under identical plea agreements to alien
smuggling and conspiracy. Each now faces three to 15 years at
sentencing Jan. 9.

The couple heard the court proceedings through an Spanish language
interpreter and appeared in court in jail-issue khaki shirt, pants
and sandals.

Both are natives of the Peruvian capital of Lima and have never lived
in the United States.

Defense attorney Irving Gonzalez said he has been in touch with
Calderon's family, who are caring for the couple's children.

Melanie Orhant
Stop-Traffic Moderator

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