Saturday, 16 July 2011

Pig Head, most wanted for traficking in women

Ioan Clamparu, alias Pig Head
SPAIN (Agencies) He is tall, wide and strong. Enormous, in fact. On account of his physique, Ioan Clamparu, 42, one of the world's major traffickers in women, is called "Cabeza de Cerdo" (Pig Head). He has another nickname, "Papá." He is among the fugitives most wanted by Interpol, and by Spain's National Police. This Romanian criminal entrepreneur organized the prostitution racket in the vast Casa del Campo park in western Madrid, and also gets a percentage for every woman's "post" in another notorious zone for street prostitution, the Colonia Marconi industrial park in southern Madrid. He runs the whole operation from the shadows. Very few of his underlings ever see his face. In the late 1990s he created a "multinational" between Romania, Spain and Italy, which he still manages. The cash flow amounts to millions of euros. He has bought and sold thousands of women. His idol, according to the Romanian press, is Al Capone.>>>
The Spanish police had him encircled in 2004. A mistake, or a tip-off, torpedoed an operation that had been under way for almost a year. Since then he has been wanted far and wide. Rumor has him in Brazil, Costa Rica and elsewhere. It has been said that he is dead, that he has had plastic surgery and even modified his fingerprints. Police in many countries are on his track. He is, however, a slippery customer.

His business begins in Romania. There he recruits women, later bringing them to countries such as Spain. Once in Madrid, they are taken to a flat occupied by one or two madames . Their passports are taken away, and they are shown their new workplace, which at first is generally the Casa de Campo. In winter Pig Head sees to it that they are given jackets - all identical, like a soccer team.

These women are the lowest echelon in a hierarchical organization. For every three or four women there is a madame. These are also organized in small groups, under a chief, who in turn has another over him. The inner circle comprises some 20 people who dress in executive suits and meet in broad daylight in downtown locations. At the top of the pyramid is Cabeza de Cerdo, living between Spain and Romania, the country where he invests his money in construction, horses, luxury cars and jewels.

When Clamparu arrived in Spain, in the late 1990s, the prostitution market was supplied mainly with women from Colombia and the Dominican Republic. He introduced what he considered a new product line: pretty blonde Romanians. Later, when Spain began to demand visas from Colombians and Dominicans, the competition dwindled as he expanded. Once he gained control, all those who were not under his umbrella, and wanted a post in the areas he ran, had to pay for it.

Clamparu has been an obsession for the Spanish police for the last decade.. "He was like Zorro," a chief inspector recalls. "You know he exists, but nobody has seen him." Shortly after arriving here he was arrested, by chance for the minor offence of irregular immigration. "He had to sign on the 1st and the 15th of every month, and every time he did it in a different city," police sources explain.

The National Police's pursuit of the Clamparu clan lasted almost a year. A clue came from a taxi driver who had fallen in love with a prostitute. They followed the taxis hired by the network to move the women from the Casa de Campo to the apartments where they lived with the madames; then followed the latter to find their chiefs, going up through the hierarchy until one day, months after the investigation began, Pig Head was found to be living with a woman in a ground floor garden flat in the suburb of Boadilla del Monte, There he frequented a gymnasium, held meetings with his "executives," and led a quiet life.

Everything was in place for him to be arrested early one morning, acting at the same time against the whole network. It was a joint operation with the Romanian police, who were to make arrests in that country. "That morning we saw him leave home in a car. Everything was quiet," recalls one of the agents involved in the operation. "Suddenly we received a call. It was the Romanian police. They had mistakenly begun the arrests too early." No one knows whether someone was protecting Cabeza de Cerdo, or if it was really a mistake, but the whole operation was a failure. He never returned to Boadilla. The other 11 flats that were to be searched were empty.

His network has gone on "working" in prostitution, branching out into the business of copying credit cards. The Spanish police are acting against his clan. In a joint operation with Romania and the Czech Republic, many "executives" were arrested. But results have been few. Judges generally shelve a case if the women declare they were not forced, though living off their earnings is illegal whether there is violence or not. The women's families in Romania, of course, are exposed to threats.

In February in Romania, Clamparu was convicted in absentia to 13 years in prison, of trafficking in women, forced prostitution and money laundering. The Spanish police are still looking for him. But once again he is Zorro.

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