A RUSSIAN citizen has been arrested in the Portimão area in connection with the widely publicised case involving a gang of immigrants torturing prostitutes in the Algarve using electric shocks (see September 29 edition of The Resident).
The Russian, caught just before the New Year, is thought to be a member of the gang that is accused of extortion, physical abuse and robbery linked to prostitution and falsification of documents to facilitate illegal immigration. He now joins four Ukranian members of the gang in prison, who have been awaiting trial since the end of September.
The Russian was found in possession of 8,000 euros in cash, thought to be earnings from peddling prostitution and supplying forged documents. At the recent initial hearing, the judge decided the accused should be placed in preventative custody due to the serious nature of the alleged crimes.
A source from the the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF), the office for foreign citizens and border control, has confirmed that the investigation is still continuing, suggesting that further arrests could still be made.
The initial arrests took place in September following a major operation involving 80 SEF inspectors, in which a series of raids were made at various locations in the Algarve. Equipment used to administer electric shocks was retrieved during the busts made at premises used by the ring, indicating that torture was taking place in order to force women into prostitution and handing over their earnings.
The victims of this terrifying abuse were attractive young women between the ages of 18 and 30, of various nationalities, although all from Eastern European countries. A total of seven suspects were arrested in the original raids, four of which, thought to be the ringleaders, were ordered to be detained in prison pending trial.
According to the SEF, the group has been operating across the Algarve but has been focusing its activities in the Portimão, Lagoa, Albufeira, Faro and Tavira areas.