A young woman entered a tobacconist’s shop in the Usera district in the south of Madrid. She looked unkempt and it was difficult to make out what she was saying, but she managed to tell the person behind the counter that she had been locked away in a room for three days and raped. Hers was one of the key testimonies that led to the arrest just after Christmas of 37 people for drug trafficking and sexually exploiting 10 minors, according to police sources.
One of these minors had already been sent to a protection center in the Madrid region last year “due to her extremely vulnerable situation,” according to a spokesperson for the Madrid department for family matters. At this center, located in the town of Paracuellos de Jarama, 26 kilometers northeast of the Spanish capital, the young woman began to describe her experience to social workers, explaining in detail how she had received money and drugs in exchange for sex with numerous adults.
One of the detainees had 40 arrests to his name, four of which were for sexual offenses
The director of the center reported her story to the police, which prompted an investigation that revealed that at least three other minors who had arrived at protection centers in the region had also been exploited by the same ring; one is still under state care while another one has turned 18 and is no longer under state protection.
According to the victims, they were contacted through social media and promised money in exchange for selling drugs, which were often delivered on scooters. The ring leaders also offered their clients the chance to have sex with the girls.
The rapes took place at the Marconi industrial park, an area that is known for prostitution, in underground hideouts and inside apartments used as drug dens. The girl who tipped off the employee at the tobacconist’s shop had spent three days held against her will inside one of these properties in Usera.
Others were forced to have sex in the basement of a hairdresser’s salon on Monte Igueldo street, in Madrid’s Puente de Vallecas district. Police officers found a camera and two chairs similar to those used in the salon, covered with purple sheets; the camera was examined for pornographic footage of the victims.
A prisoner and a rapper
One member of the group, a 52-year-old Moroccan national, was jailed in September for a murder committed on that same street. Another individual involved in the ring’s activities is Saymol Fyly, a rapper with 154,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel. A pistol and a machete were also found during raids that involved 150 officers.
One of the detainees had 40 arrests to his name, four of which were for sexual offenses. Others were in possession of cocaine at the time of their arrest. Three of the 37 suspects are women, one of whom was holding the minor captive at the Usera hideout. Most of the detainees are Dominican citizens, while the minors are predominantly Spanish, with the exception of a Romanian and a Dominican.
Investigators were able to establish that the ringleaders of the group sexually assaulted the girls, with one asking for a chauffeured car to bring him a minor from one of the drug dens, whom he then raped together with other adults. “The detainees forced the girls to take drugs in order to subdue them,” according to a police source. The 37 suspects are now facing charges of sexual assault, prostitution of minors, possession of child pornography, illegal abduction and crimes against public health.