A suspected human-trafficking and prostitution ring involving crack military elite was the target of a raid by SEF border police on Sunday in the northern community of Lixa, in the borough of Felgueiras (Porto).
Three brothers believed to be living off the ring’s illicit proceeds were rounded up with another six suspects.
According to a news source, two of the brothers are former soldiers – one a parachutist, the other a Ranger.
Daniel and Tiago Teixeira both served in missions to Bosnia, and although there is no link between their trips and the trafficking of women to Portugal for sex, the fact that they were soldiers is “not irrelevant” to the investigation now underway.
Authorities report that the duo exploited around 20 women working out of apartments attached to the Kiss Hot Night Club and that among items seized on Sunday was a stash of weapons including grenades, over €150,000 in cash and a top-of-the-range car.
The nine people arrested appeared before magistrates on Tuesday and newspapers report that the human trafficking charges for now have been dropped.
In all, four Portuguese face varying prostitution charges along with three illegal aliens and two others.
The defendants have all been released pending trial.
Meantime, the Kiss Hot Night Club remains closed with defendants prohibited from making contact with the 20 women who were operating out of adjoining apartments.
According to media reports, the prostitution ring had caused “indignation” among neighbours.
By NATASHA DONN