THE discovery of a cybersex den in Cebu City has international repercussions, with operations being planned in the United States.
Two US federal agents from the US embassy in Manila have been in Cebu since Tuesday, a day after the raid in Barangay Suba-Pasil, to work on tracking down the identities of American patrons of the cybersex den.
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 Regional Director Medardo de Lemos asked that the information be suppressed, however, to give the foreign agents “time to wrap up their own investigation without getting preempted.”
The agents took custody of the hard disks taken from the computers seized during the raid yesterday, to mine them for “temporary Internet files” that may have embedded video of the clients.
“They plan to conduct what they call a digital autopsy of the hard disks to isolate these pieces of evidence,” de Lemos explained.
The two agents also got receipts of the deposits American patrons made to the money transfer accounts of Archie Abala, one of the two persons arrested in Monday’s raid.
“The respondent (Abala) has volunteered to help in the investigation on the US side. He, however, remains a respondent in the criminal case here,” de Lemos said.
“The deposits were made via credit cards so it is very easy for our counterparts in the US Government to track them down and make arrests,” he said.
De Lemos said the foreign agents plan to contact counterparts in Europe after noting that some of the receipts indicated payments in euro.
At the Cebu City Hall, Mayor Tomas Osmeña called on the International Police (Interpol) to help stop cybersex operations.
“This is one of the areas, I think, where Interpol should come in. They should be able to evaluate what country is very effective in fighting this kind of activities, and then I
hope they will just tell us this is how they are doing it so that we don’t have to start from scratch,” said Osmeña.
He said law enforcement agencies should lead the fight against cybersex operations.
“But it doesn’t mean I will not help, of course I will help. But they should be the one to manage the issue,” the mayor said.
NBI operatives raided a suspected cybersex den in Barangay Suba-Pasil Monday night.
Four minors, two aged 17, one aged 12 and the youngest aged 8, were rescued following the operation that resulted in the arrest and indictment of two people.
City Prosecutor Nicolas Sellon, acting on the recommendation of inquest prosecutor Ernesto Narido Jr., found probable cause to indict Stella Lopez and Archie Abala for trafficking in large scale. No bail is set.
A separate preliminary investigation proceeding will also be held against Alfredo Fernandez, who eluded arrest. He is reportedly the live-in partner of respondent Lopez and co-owner of the house and Internet café used as front of the cybersex den. (KNR/PDF)