The Americas

TV host in El Salvador detained in child prostitution case

A TV and radio personality and three others were arrested Tuesday in connection with an alleged child prostitution ring that was busted two years ago in El Salvador.

Maximiliano Gonzalez, better known by the stage name "El Gordo Max," or "Fat Max," directs the program "Domingo Para T2."

His detention was first announced on Twitter by the prosecutor's office and later confirmed by Violeta Olivares, head of the Unit on Illegal People-Trafficking.

Gonzalez was in custody and unavailable to the media, and no lawyer had yet appeared representing him. He is suspected of the crime of paying for sexual acts with a minor.

A businessman returning from an overseas trip and two others were also arrested.

The case is related to the August 2014 arrests of members of a ring that allegedly prostituted minors to broadcasters and businesspeople.

Prosecutors say youths from 13 to 17 years old were led to believe they were getting work in modeling and advertising, but instead they were sold for sex, anywhere from $50 to as much as $300 if they were virgins.

Prosecutors say Gonzalez had cooperated with the administration of the previous chief prosecutor and received preferential treatment as a cooperating witness. They allege that in exchange, the clients of the ring were not investigated and only those who trafficked the minors were prosecuted.

Chief Prosecutor Douglas Melendez ordered the prosecution of Gonzalez and an internal investigation of the institution's handling of the case.