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Venezuelan woman arraigned in murder for hire, abuse case

April 12, 2022 GMT

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A Venezuelan woman has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of conspiring with a Vermont man to kidnap and kill a man in a foreign country, and producing child pornography.

Moraima Escarlet Vasquez Flores, also known as Johana Martinez, 39, was arraigned in federal court in Burlington on Monday following her extradition to the United States from Colombia.

Last month, Sean Fiore, 38, of Burlington, was sentenced to 27 years in prison following his guilty plea to federal charges that he commissioned Vasquez Flores to make videos of the torture of a boy, and the torture and killing of a man, records show.

Court records say that in September 2018 Fiore used a secure messaging app to communicate with the woman in Venezuela.

Prosecutors say the communications were about Fiore’s interest in purchasing a video depicting the torture of a kidnapped child. They say Fiore ultimately paid $600 to Vasquez Flores in Amazon gift cards and she allegedly sent him a hyperlink to a video file depicting what prosecutors describe as her “inflicting sadistic abuse on a prepubescent boy.”

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In December 2018, prosecutors say Fiore agreed to pay $4,000 for a second video that showed the torture and killing of a man in Venezuela. In April 2019, Vasquez Flores is alleged to have sent him a hyperlink to a 58-minute video file depicting the abuse and possible death of an adult male, the U.S. attorney’s office for Vermont said.

Vasquez Flores will be represented by the federal public defender’s office, prosecutors said. A phone message was left with the office seeking comment on Tuesday.