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Tunnel leading to Cagayan de Oro jail found

09:56 PM November 17, 2011

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—Jail authorities, acting on information from kibitzers, discovered an 86-meter-long tunnel that leads to the compound of the Lumbia City jail here, where two Swedes convicted of human trafficking by a local court in May were being held along with other inmates.

The tunnel, described by a jail official as “nearly completed,” started on a lot leased to a certain Christopher Moreno.

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The tunnel is just six meters short before it reaches the old compound of the Lumbia City jail, according to warden Supt. Clint Russel Tangeres. “It is nearly completed,” Tangeres said.

He said the tunnel’s direction was the building housing the Reception and Diagnostic Center, where Swede nationals Bo Stefan Sederholm, 31, and Emil Andreas Solemo, 35, are being held, along with Chinese nationals convicted of drug trafficking. The building also houses the cell blocks of jailed members of crime gangs Batang Mindanao 29 and Batman.

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Sederholm and Solemo were convicted of trafficking in persons in May and were meted out life terms.

The two Swedes and some Filipino cohorts were arrested on April 23, 2009, by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation in Northern Mindanao and the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office in an afternoon raid on a cybersex den in a three-story building in Barangay Kauswagan here.

During the raid, authorities also rescued 17 female minors and seized a host of sex toys and gadgets.

The minors were being used as nude models in an elaborate cybersex operation with foreign clientele.

According to one of the minors rescued, they were paid P15,000 a month in exchange for posing nude while chatting with clients using a webcam.

The foreigners beam live video of the young girls through a pornographic site registered under a Portuguese company called Lalib Management and Investments.

Tangeres said the identities of those behind the digging of the tunnel remain uncertain. What was certain, he said, was that the digging was “well-funded.”

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Tangeres said they had suspected that the tunnel was being dug for the past five months now.

The lot where the tunnel was dug is owned by Ramon Aberastore and leased to Moreno, he said.

Tangeres said the tunnel’s entrance was two meters wide and was concealed by a makeshift hut.

“It could have led to the escape of hundreds of inmates had it not been discovered early,” he said.

Senior Insp. Joel Nacua, Lumbia police station chief, said two men had been invited for questioning after they were seen at the tunnel entrance.

Nacua, however, quoted the two men as saying they were only caretakers of the area and weren’t involved in the diggings. Bobby Lagsa, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: Cagayan de Oro, Human trafficking, tunnel
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