2 Sep, 2022 @ 12:40
1 min read

Court in Spain hands down 160-year sentence to man found guilty of killing sex workers with highly pure cocaine

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A COURT in Valencia on Thursday handed down a sentence of nearly 160 years to a man who was found guilty of killing three women by intoxicating them with large quantities of cocaine. 

Jorge Ignacio Palma, a 40-year-old Colombian national with a criminal record for drug trafficking, was also convicted of trying to kill six other women in a similar manner. The victims were all sexual partners of Palma’s, and were affected by the drug given its high purity. 

The three women who died were Arliene Ramos (32), Lady Marcela Vargas (26) and Marta Calvo (25). All of his victims were sex workers.

Suspicion first fell on Palma when Calvo’s mother raised the alarm over her daughter’s disappearance in 2019. Palma handed himself in to the authorities a month after she vanished and confessed to have dismembered and disposed of her body. Despite police searches,no trace of her was ever found.

Palma claimed to have got rid of the corpse after having a panic attack when he woke up to find Calvo dead next to him after a so-called “fiesta blanca”, a combination of cocaine use and sexual relations. 

Police then began to investigate other possible victims who had been subject to the same treatment. 

The sentence was reached by a jury at the Valencia regional High Court, and will also see Palma obliged to pay damages to the victims and their families totalling €640,000. 

A Missing Persons Poster Seeking Marta Calvo
A missing person’s poster seeking Marta Calvo.

The jury considered proven that Palma had hired the sexual services of his victims, including a “fiesta blanca”, but that he then would introduce the drug into their genitals without their consent with the intention of subduing them and killing them. 

As well as finding him guilty of premeditated homicide, the jury also convicted him of other offenses including attempted homicide and a public health offense for his insistence that his partners use cocaine. 

The judge overseeing the case stopped short from sentencing Palma to “reviewable permanent prison”, which is the closest penalty under Spain’s criminal code to a life sentence. The mother of Marta Calvo has already stated that she will appeal the ruling in a bid to see Palma get an even tougher sentence.


Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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