Thursday, January 11, 2007

Cancun, Mexico: Ex Argentine spy chief now pimp chief in Cancun

This is an interesting story straight from the pages of Reforma.

Raúl Luis Martins Coggiola acted, between 1974 and 1987, as head of Argentina's Secretaría de Inteligencia del Estado (SIDE), or state security apparatus. He worked for the military dicatorship and was responsible for following, photographing, kidnapping and the ultimate "disappearance" of scores of opposition members.

After leaving public service, he opened and ran at least 11 clubs in Buenos Aires and became known as "The Capo of Sex". His specialty, er, his employees' specialty was "VIP" services. We would call them high priced call girls.

When later Argentine governments began investigations into the military junta's crimes in an attempt to bring some of them to justice, Martins fled to Mexico. He entered Tijuana in 2002. Not long afterwards, he arrived in Cancun.

His long time ex-lawyer, who continues to this day to defend some of the accused from those bad old days, had a falling out with Martins. Attorney Claudio Lifschitz was forced to leave Mexico for his own safety. Now, Lifschitz is telling all.

Lifschitz says that Martins runs two clubs, The One, in Cancún, and Maxim, in Playa del Carmen. Lifschitz says that the clubs employ 150 girls, most from Buenos Aires, and that the girls live and work in "semi-slavery". The girls are recruited from Buenos Aires and Brasil by a Martins associate, Marcela López, who is also their controller once they arrive in Mexico. The girls are available at the clubs and are also rented out for private parties in mansions and aboard yachts as well as for ocean cruises.

Raúl Luis Martins Coggiola, pimp king of Cancun

Lifschitz claims that Martins runs his businesses under the protection of both the Quintana Roo state governments as well as the federal attorney general's (PGR) local consul, Pedro Ramírez. Martins rates such treatment because of his association with wealthy Mexican businessman Isaac Hamui Amadi, boss of Puerto Costa Maya, Cancun's tourist port-of-call, who is an associate of ex-governor Joaquin Hendricks. But Martins continues operating with immunity from law enforcement under new governor Félix González Canto.

Reforma says that Lifschitz told the newspaper that González Cantu has continued to guarantee that Martins's clubs have exclusive control of the sex business on the beaches. The manager of Plaza 21, a center for nightspots in Cancun, Raúl Poveda, says he was aware that Martins had been receiving official protection for his vice rackets, but that Poveda expected to see that protection dry up when the new governor took office. However, Poveda says, "Supposedly, with the new governor, he would no longer have this protection, but so far no one has touched him."

Ex-governor Joaquin Hendricks, far left, long sleeved blue shirt.
Current Governor Félix González Canto, center in white shirt.

Cancun business tycoon Isaac Hamui Abadi with Governor González.

Isaac Hamui Abadi owns the big tourist port-of-call in Cancun, as well as billions of dollars in other real estate along the beaches. And how did Hamui Abadi come by all that territory? He bought it right from under the feet of the indigenous campesinos that lived on it. With government collusion, of course.

Argentina has been making some noise for some time about wanting Martins extradited to face charges of human rights abuses in Argentina. According to Lipschitz, Martins has been concerned enough to bring his son, Mariano Martins, to Cancun to run the businesses in the case that daddy gets tossed out of Mexico.

Martins's tentacles reach deep into the Mexican bureaucracy. He entered Tijuana on a 180 day tourist visa. He was then granted an FM3 visa (Number 1313162) which has expired. He went to a federal judge and bought an amparo which prevents Mexican immigration officials from deporting him.

He's got 1 fraud case pending against him in Tijuana and 2 more in Cancun. He's got 3 criminal actions pending against him in Cancun as well as another taken out by immigration officers after he threatened them with death when they entered one of his clubs looking for, ahem, illegal aliens. No action seems to be taking place with any of these criminal and civil suits.

His "girls" buy their FM3 work permits for $1500 US each, paid to friendly Mexican Immigration Institute (INM) employees. $800 gets kicked back to Martins. The FM3's are issued in 48 hours after the cash payment.

The girls are mostly from Argentina and Brasil but there are also many from Monterrey. The girls say they can make a lot of money but are held in virtual slavery. Many are duped into thinking that table dancing is all they are required to do. When they arrive, however, they discover that prostitution is required. If they refuse, they are abandoned in Mexico without a penny.

Some of the girls from club Maxim, Playa del Carmen.

A girl who called herself Shany was interviewed and recorded on a hidden camera, but by whom I'm not too sure. Reforma got its hands on the video. She said that the girls were well paid. "Oral sex - 1500 pesos, 500 to Martins; Private table dance - 500 pesos, 200 to Martins; A "salida" (quicky sex) - 4000 pesos, 1000 to Martins.

She said that there were large "fines" for every infraction. 500 dollars for being late, dressing badly, refusing to work at a private party off-site, giving out one's telephone number or seeing a client away from the club. If you didn't pay, said Shany, you were locked up in the club and not allowed to work.

Martins keeps the businesses all in the family. He is assisted by his 27 year-old wife, Estela Percivall. The clubs are managed by his sisters-in-law, María Eugenia Percivall y Natalia Percivall. His son Mariano, 25, will manage the businesses here in Mexico if his father is deported. His oldest son, Agosto, 30, runs the businesses in Argentina.

Another man, named Pipiolo, handles personnel matters. He also is in charge of the logistics for the "salidas" as well as organizing and supplying prostitutes for private parties in mansions, on board yachts and for sea cruises.

Mariano Martins ready to take over pop's business if pop gets popped.

Marcela López, chief recruiter for the pimp king, with a "recruit".

Martins's ex-attorney says that Cancun businessman Isaac Hamui and Martins are very close. Lipschitz says that Hamui organizes parties for government and political powers and Martins supplies the girls. In this manner they have been able to garner official protection for their varied business interests. Like providing sex on the beach or stealing the land from poor Mayan indian campesinos.

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