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Press Release

Venezuelan Woman Arraigned on Conspiracy to Kidnap and Murder, Child Pornography Charges Following Extradition from Columbia to the United States

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Vermont

UPDATE

The Press Release has been updated to reflect the Justice Department's Office of International Affairs' assistance.


 

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Moraima Escarlet Vasquez Flores, aka “Johana Martinez,” 39, of Venezuela, was arraigned and pleaded not guilty on April 11, 2022, in United States District Court in Burlington, Vermont, on charges that she conspired with Sean Fiore to kidnap and murder a person in a foreign country, conspired with Fiore to produce and produced child pornography, and that she aided and abetted the receipt by Fiore of child pornography.  Vasquez Flores’ appearance in court follows her extradition to the United States from Colombia, where she was living at the time of her arrest in September 2020.  U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin J. Doyle granted the government’s motion for detention and ordered Vasquez Flores detained pending trial.  

According to court records, in September 2018, Vasquez Flores, then in Venezuela, is alleged to have communicated over WhatsApp with Fiore, who was then located in Vermont. Both used aliases.  The WhatsApp communications were about Fiore’s interest in purchasing a video depicting the torture of a kidnapped child, who was referred to as a “slave.”  Fiore ultimately paid $600 to Vasquez Flores in Amazon gift cards for the video.  Fiore sent specific instructions on what abuse he wished to see inflicted on the child.  On October 3, 2018, Vasquez Flores is alleged to have sent Fiore a hyperlink to a video file that showed Vasquez Flores inflicting sadistic abuse on a prepubescent boy consistent with Fiore’s specifications.
     
On October 13, 2018, Vasquez Flores is alleged to have sent three video files to Fiore that depicted the sadistic abuse of a prepubescent boy.  Fiore did not commission the production of these video files.

Vasquez Flores is alleged to have subsequently used WhatsApp to communicate with Fiore and to discuss Fiore’s desire to purchase another video which showed the torture and killing of another kidnapped “slave.”  Fiore sent specifications for the types of physical abuse, humiliation, and manner of death he wished to see in the video.  In December 2018, Fiore agreed to pay $4,000 for this video.  In April 2019, Vasquez Flores is alleged to have sent Fiore a hyperlink to a 58-minute video file depicting the requested sadistic abuse and possible death of an adult male.
 
U.S. Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest emphasized that the charges in the indictment are accusations only and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.  If convicted, Vasquez Flores’ sentence will be determined by the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines and the impact, if any, of any mandatory minimum prison terms applicable to any count of conviction.  

U.S. Attorney Kerest commended the efforts of Homeland Security Investigations and the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in the investigation of Vasquez Flores and Fiore.  

Barbara A. Masterson, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont, Patrick Jasperse, Trial Attorney with the Department of Justice’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, and Eduardo Palomo, Trial Attorney with the Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, represent the government.  Vasquez Flores will be represented by the Federal Public Defender’s Office. The Justice Department's Office of International Affairs provided valuable assistance in securing Vasquez Flores's arrest and extradition.  

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and Child Exploitation Obscenity Section, Criminal Division (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

Updated April 12, 2022

Topics
Project Safe Childhood
Violent Crime
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