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CAB112 / Italy / U.S. NATIONAL SOPHIA TORRES DIES IN NAPLES HOLDING CELL

U.S. NATIONAL SOPHIA TORRES DIES IN NAPLES HOLDING CELL

¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY: U.S. National Sophia Torres was found hanged in her holding cell in the central police building in Naples on December 26. END SUMMARY.

SOPHIA TORRES
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¶2. (U) Torres, Sophia A. (DOB 11/9/1985) (Ref. FJ-JDS803112) Born in Long Island City, NY. Parents divorced. One brother, living in Rochester, MN. Graduate student in international relations at Columbia University. Radical political connections; repeated travel to Gaza. Deported from Israel 2009. (Ref. DOS/DOJ0023383)

¶3. (SBU) On December 16, Torres was arrested by Italian Carabinieri for trespassing on the grounds of NATO HQ Naples. She was charged with resisting arrest, assault, conspiracy to commit acts contrary to the security of Italy, possession of explosives, possession of narcotics with intent to traffic, and possession of classified Italian military information. She did not attempt to contact the U.S. Consular Office in Naples (USCON). The Carabinieri contacted USCON on December 17. Torres refused to meet with any USCON personnel, including her assigned consular representative, Assistant Charge d’Affairs Susan Swedlow. (Incident Report Ref. DOS/EI/CON78059)

¶4. (C) On December 20, in a sworn statement to officers of the Italian Guardia di Finanza (GDF), Torres claimed U.S. National James Arger (Ref. FJ-JDS681031) was working for the Steinlöw Investment Group (Ref. DOS40457-FIN/2B and DOS48475-FIN/3A) as an agent provocateur and disinformation specialist, creating international incidents and information climates conducive to the crash of local resource prices. Torres claimed Arger’s current target was rebel movements in Burma. If true, Arger would be violating the Neutrality Act and several insider trading laws, and most likely committing tax fraud.

INCIDENT REPORT SUMMARY
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¶5. (C) At approximately 0900 hours on December 26, a guard discovered Torres in her cell hanged with her own belt. It had been confiscated at her arrest on December 16. No record could be immediately produced indicating its release to her. No guard saw or heard anything on the cell block that night (Christmas night); all guards’ stories match. No fingerprints were found on Torres’ belt except hers, and those of seven guards in the Naples central police division, any of which might have handled her belt in evidence.

¶6. (C) ACDA Swedlow is currently tasked DOS case officer on this matter. Her GDF and Carabinieri opposite numbers are currently on Christmas holidays and cannot be contacted.

COMMENT
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¶7. (C) The guards’ stories plainly indicate collusion, but whether to cover up murder or their neglect and sloppy evidence handling and surveillance is unknown. Naples police and Carabinieri are well known to be penetrated by Camorra (local organized crime), and hence by any outside party with sufficient resources to contract a murder. Current stonewalling by Carabinieri and GDF could be standard Italian bureaucratic tangles, or evidence of a cover-up being planned. If Torres was murdered, this gives some credence to her accusations against Arger and Steinlöw Group.

¶8. (C) Urgently recommend that all LE/I/O personnel monitoring Arger (Ref. DOS130555) increase surveillance on communications, and attempt to trace any connection between Arger and Torres, Neapolitan organized crime, or the Seinlöw Group. Further recommend investigation into known Arger contacts and associates in Burma.

END COMMENT.

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