A 65-year-old Texas man who goes by the nickname “El Abuelo,” or “grandfather,” has been arrested in Quito on charges of sexual exploitation and trafficking. Royce Dale Phillips, whose social media accounts list him as vice president of a company that sells equipment to the oil industry, was arrested Wednesday in his home in the upscale Quito Tenis neighborhood.
After being booked at police headquarters, Phillips was fitted with an electronic ankle bracelet and returned to his home where he will remain under house arrest, due to his age, while the investigation continues.
In addition to the sex charges, police say they are looking into Phillip’s possible role in the murder of 15-year-old Carolina Andrango, whose body was found last August in a ravine north of Quito. Andrango’s mother says she believes that her daughter went to a party at Phillips’ home the night she was killed.
In a search of Phillips’ home, investigators collected cell phones, laptop computers, tablets, sex toys and male sexual enhancement pills, marijuana and $10,000 in cash. Police say the computers contained hundreds of sexually graphic videos and photographs involving male and female minors.
Among the evidence being examined is a video of a meeting at Phillips’ home where he is pictured with five young men. According to police, Phillips recruited local men, many of them minors, to bring young women to parties at his house. As payment for their service, which included appearing on video in sexual acts, police say the men were given drugs, alcohol and money.
A week before Phillips’ arrest, police arrested a man identified as Christian G., suspected of being one of Phillips’ associates. They did not say whether Christian G. provided information that led to Phillips’ arrest.
On his social media accounts, Phillips is pictured frequently with Quito area officials, including police officers.
Police say Phillips has been a legal resident of Ecuador for seven years.