Bolivian Vice President’s sexual assault case leads suspect back to US

The man at the center of the sexual assault investigation of the Bolivian Vice President and several others accused of sexually assaulting the politician, his supporters and her children is being brought back to the United States, court records show.

Virgilio Navarro, 38, who is wanted on felony charges in Arizona, and has been living in Ecuador, was extradited from Ecuador on July 19, according to court records. He was ordered extradited by a Maricopa County Superior Court judge after Navarro turned himself in to local authorities, said Anthony Love, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

Navarro faces 126 counts of sexual assault stemming from incidents in Maricopa County, according to court records.

Navarro has not been charged in this case, but he is charged with sexual assault, failing to report child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to court records.

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Navarro is a former friend of the Vice President’s daughter, Irma Flores Esquivel, who has said she and her children were sexually assaulted by him in Arizona. Navarro is also a longtime friend of the daughter, according to court records.

Navarro was a close family friend and mentor to Irma Flores Esquivel in the 1990s, said her sister, Margarita Flores Cruz.

Navarro was once a tour guide at the family home in the Phoenix area, Margarita Flores Cruz said. He slept in the same house with the family and the children played with the children, ages 4 to 10.

When Irma Flores Esquivel returned from Peru this month, she reported that she was raped by the two men who lived with her. The crimes occurred at the Chavez Camp ranch in the village of Asorin, about 12 miles outside Pachacutec, authorities said.

Navarro was spotted in Pachacutec by a witness who told authorities he saw him running down a nearby street. He was found and brought to a police station, where he was questioned and released the same day, court records show. Authorities have not said if they learned about the other allegations.

“I believe he did something he shouldn’t have done,” Margarita Flores Cruz said in an interview. “I do not believe he did it to these women. He’s too busy with his family and his kids.”

She said Navarro has told her several times that he loved both her sister and the Vice President.

She said she was heartbroken when she learned of the allegations against Navarro.

“He is not a monster,” she said. “He is not.”

Melanie Ridenour, a spokeswoman for the company that owns Chavez Camp, said Friday Navarro had no comment.

One of the family members who witnessed the alleged assault in an incident on June 24 turned the two men into the Guatemalan consulate in Phoenix, authorities said.

Hector Uribe, the Guatemalan consul general for Arizona, said Navarro’s visit was the first of its kind, but that the Guatemalan Embassy in Mexico City had been handling other cases.

Elvita Cruz, Irma Flores Esquivel’s sister-in-law, said Navarro would drop by the house every week with his teenage sons.

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