A ring that was trying to smuggle Saadi Gadhafi, the son of late Libyan dictator Col. Moammar Gadhafi, and his family into Mexico has been dismantled, officials said Wednesday.
Four suspects – two Mexicans, a Canadian and a Dane – involved in the scheme were arrested during “Operation Guest,” Government Secretary Alejandro Poire said.
The plan called for the Libyan businessman to acquire properties in different parts of Mexico and establish his residence in Bahia de Banderas, a Pacific coastal town in Nayarit state.
The suspects were identified as Cynthia Ann Ranier, a Canadian who is allegedly the gang’s leader and ran its finances; Gabriela Davila Huerta, a Mexican living in the United States who also used the alias Gabriela Davila del Cueto, served as the “logistics link” and contacted the document forgers; and Pierre Christian Fleisborg, a Danish national who was in charge of logistics.
The fourth suspect was identified as Jose Luis Kennedy Prieto, a Mexican citizen who was in charge of obtaining the false documents.
Ranier was arrested on Nov. 10 in Mexico City, while the other suspects were detained a day later.
The suspects are all in preventive detention, allowing prosecutors to hold them for 40 days while they gather more evidence in the case.
The criminal organization chartered several flights between Mexico, the United States, Canada, Kosovo and various Middle Eastern countries “to coordinate the route and prepare the logistics for Gadhafi’s move,” Poire said.
The suspects face forgery, people trafficking, bank fraud and organized crime charges.
He was a professional soccer player but made it into only two Italian League matches before being penalized for doping.
Gadhafi, who crossed into Niger in September and requested asylum, is accused of being behind the killing of a 1980s Libyan soccer star.
An arrest order was issued for Gadhafi by Interpol on Sept. 29 at the request of Libya’s National Transitional Council, which accuses him of taking properties via force or intimidation while serving as head of the Libyan Soccer Federation.
Preventing Gadhafi from entering Mexico is “another demonstration of the capacity of the Mexican state’s institutions for protecting the integrity of national territory,” Poire said.
Foreign Relations Secretary Patricia Espinosa, who is visiting Brazil, praised the successful police operation.
“This is a matter we had been working on for some time and we are very happy that the plan was detected in an efficient manner and we prevented the entry of this person into Mexico,” Espinosa said during a press conference in Sao Paulo with her Brazilian counterpart, Antonio Patriota.