Crime — 09 May 2014 — by Albert J. Ciego

A 16-year-old Belizean girl believed to be a victim of human trafficking who was found in Carrillo Puerto, Mexico, is in the custody of Mexican authorities, who will return her to Belize.

The girl told Mexican police that she had been held against her will for the past seven months by an older man who had been beating and abusing her.

According to the Mexican newspaper Por Esto Quintana Roo, at about 9:30 Saturday night, police were on patrol on 68th Street in the Colonia Jesus Martinez Ross area in Felipe Carillo Puerto, Quintana Roo, Mexico, when they came across a vehicle that was parked in a dark area of the street and inside the vehicle were two people who were in an altercation.

The police stopped to investigate what was happening, and the driver, who identified himself as Miguel Angel Manzanero Cocom, 53, claimed that nothing was wrong, but the girl, who was sitting in the front seat, quickly told police that she was being beaten and abused by Cocom.

The officer requested that Cocom and the girl step out of the vehicle. The girl was taken aside and interviewed. She told police that Cocom had been holding her by force for the past seven months, and that she was just 16 years old and was in the country illegally.

Mexican police said that Cocom will be charged with several offenses, including kidnapping and human trafficking, while the girl will be sent back to Belize.

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