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The International and Serious Crimes Unit of the Israel Police registered a major success Thursday when wanted suspected women trafficker Frederico Constantin was extradited to Israel, where he is expected to strand trial for a wide variety of trafficking-related crimes.
In 2003, Constantin was fingered by Israeli police as the leader of a large ring of brothels, pimps and prostitutes, but evaded custody by staying overseas as police rounded up 18 of his co-workers.
Constantin, 27, allegedly would recruit women in Ukraine and Turkey and then smuggle them into Israel on a privately-owned yacht. After their arrival, he then allegedly sold them to brothels throughout the country. Police said Thursday that they know of at least two brothels where Constantin supplied the prostitutes.
Constantin departed Israel for Turkey in October 2003. When police broke up the ring one month later, he allegedly realized that he too was in the crosshairs, and decided to stay overseas. Police tracked him down in Ukraine, but according to the prosecution, the local police refused to cooperate with Israel's extradition request. Eight of the 18 people arrested were later indicted, and the rest, whom investigators classified as book-keepers and secretaries, were later released.
Constantin later relocated to the Czech Republic, where his luck ran out. Detained in March by Czech authorities, he was finally extradited to be indicted in Israel early Thursday morning.
Upon arrival, Constantin - who has no prior criminal record - was taken to the ISCU's Petah Tikva offices for questioning, where he refused to cooperate with investigators who attempted to grill him in his mother tongue, Russian.
Police said they needed eight days' remand extension to prepare the witnesses - brothel owners and former prostitutes - who said that they were willing to testify that Constantin arranged for the women to be held against their will in brothels. He also allegedly received percentages of each woman's income and threatened them that if they argued, he would return them to their countries against their will.
Judge Leah Lev-On of the Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court agreed to extend Constantin's remand by eight days, after which, police said, he would be indicted on several charges including trading in women for the purpose of prostitution, pimping, taking advantages of juveniles, and criminal conspiracy.
This was the second time in less than one month in which the ISCU claimed victory in arranging the extradition of suspected traffickers from the Czech Republic to Israeli custody. In November, two other Israelis suspected of involvement in another, similar ring were also brought to Israel and then to the Petah Tikvah Magistrate's Court for remand extensions.