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El Salvador National Pleads Guilty to Recruiting Teens for Sex Trafficking Ring

An illegal alien from El Salvador pleaded guilty Wednesday February 13, 2013, to recruiting a 15-year-old runaway to engage in commercial sex for a prostitution ring.

Formerly from Adelphi, Md., Yanira del Carmen Guerrero Andrade, aka Yadira or Litsy, 28, was apprehended following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C. field office with assistance from the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force.

Guerrero Andrade pled guilty to child sex trafficking, which carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for May 10, 2013.

“HSI will continue to thwart those who prey on teenage victims for their own greed,” said HSI Special Agent in Charge John P. Torres. “We cannot allow anyone to traffic vulnerable victims and think they can get away with this. We will continue to diligently work with our law enforcement partners to combat sex trafficking in our community.”

“Ms. Guerrero Andrade’s actions show just how vile the world of human trafficking is – right here in our community,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “She lured a 15-year-old girl into her boyfriend’s commercial sex trade business so she could sell her off time and time again for profit. Many people think human trafficking is a man’s business – but the recruiters are often women, and we hold them accountable.”

According a statement of facts filed with her plea agreement, Guerrero Andrade admitted that she met a 15-year-old runaway in January 2009 and encouraged her to work as a prostitute for an organization run by Julio Cesar Revolorio Ramos, whom Guerrero Andrade was dating. After the victim spoke to Revolorio Ramos by phone, Guerrero Andrade introduced the victim to him and the two of them transported the victim from Maryland into Virginia to work as a prostitute, even though they knew the victim was under 18 years of age.

On the first day the victim was trafficked, she had sexual relations with approximately 17 customers, and on the third day she had sexual relations with 25 customers. In June 2010, Guerrero Andrade invited the victim to live in the basement of the home she shared with Revolorio Ramos. One week after moving in to the home, Revolorio Ramos again prostituted the victim, and the victim paid rent with the money she received from prostitution.

Guerrero Andrade also admitted that in 2010, she provided the victim with contact information for other prostitution organizations so the victim could work for those organizations during the weeks she was not being prostituted by Revolorio Ramos.

On Feb. 8, 2013, Revolorio Ramos was sentenced to 188 months in prison for his role in sex trafficking a child.

Founded in 2004, the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force is a collaboration of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies – along with nongovernmental organizations – dedicated to combating human trafficking and related crimes.

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Posted by on February 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Mexican National Sentenced for Sex Trafficking

An illegal alien from Mexico pleaded guilty Tuesday, December 18, 2012, to conspiring to engage in the sex trafficking of two minors. The guilty pleas resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Kentucky State Police.

Adulfo De Aquino-Cancino, age 28, a resident of Taylor County, Ky., pleaded guilty Dec. 18 to conspiring to benefit financially from a prostitution venture that recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided and obtained by any means two minors. De Aquino-Cancino pleaded guilty and will serve 84 months in prison and up to a lifetime of supervised release. As part of the plea agreement, the United States agreed to dismiss counts 2, 3 and 4 of the grand jury indictment.

According to the plea agreement, between August 2011 and January 2012, De Aquino-Cancino engaged in a conspiracy where he knowingly benefitted from participating in a venture that recruited minors to engage in commercial sex acts. The conduct of the venture constituted interstate commerce because De Aquino-Cancino communicated with the minors via cellular telephone and text messages. De Aquino-Cancino was indicted by a grand jury meeting in Bowling Green, Ky., May 16.

According to an affidavit filed by HSI in support of a criminal complaint, between August 2011, and January 2012, De Aquino-Cancino recruited females, arranged for commercial sexual encounters, transported and benefited financially from commercial sex transactions involving two minors and several adults in Green, Taylor, Adair and Barren counties in the Western District of Kentucky.

On January 19, De Aquino-Cancino was interviewed by a Kentucky State Police detective. He stated that he knew several girls in the Campbellsville, Ky., area who were prostitutes. He further states that he would go to Campbellsville to pick the prostitutes up and take them to different locations where they performed commercial sex acts with the defendant’s friends. The prostitutes would in turn pay De Aquino-Cancino for driving them to the locations. De Aquino-Cancino identified the two juveniles and affirmed that he knew that what he was doing was illegal.

Following this interview, De Aquino-Cancino was arrested by the Kentucky State Police.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua D. Judd, Western District of Kentucky, is prosecuting the case.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).

HSI is a founding member and the U.S. representative of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Woman Sentenced to 9 Years in Prison for Sex Trafficking

A former Sacramento woman was sentenced Wednesday, November 28, 2012, to nine years in federal prison on charges stemming from a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the FBI that linked her to a scheme to sex traffic teenage girls.

Helen Jean Singh (née Kearney), 22, pleaded guilty earlier in 2012 to participating in a sex trafficking conspiracy involving the prostitution of teenage females. During the sentencing on Wednesday, November 28, 2012, Singh accepted responsibility for her actions.

A federal grand jury indicted Singh and her husband, Mahendar “Mike” Singh, on the sex trafficking conspiracy charge in December 2011. According to the indictment, the pair recruited teenage girls by promising money, drugs and a “family-like environment.” The couple maintained control over their victims by providing drugs, using physical force and threats of physical force, and fostering a climate of fear. The Singh’s used the Internet to advertise their prostitution enterprise, which spanned from SacramentoCounty to multiple Bay Area counties.

“Few crimes strike at our community the way sex trafficking does,” U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said. “By sexually exploiting children and young adults for financial gain, sex traffickers have shown that greed has no bounds. My office will continue to lead efforts by law enforcement to fight the menace that is sex trafficking.”

The Singhs were arrested in August 2011 after the South San Francisco Police Department responded to a motel near the San FranciscoAirport and found Mahendar Singh with three teenage girls. The affidavit alleges the defendants used an Internet website to advertise their victims and employed cell phones and text-messaging to make arrangements with customers.

“While no prison sentence can ever compensate for the physical and emotional toll experienced by trafficking victims, this lengthy prison term should serve as a sobering warning about the consequences facing those who engage in this reprehensible practice,” said Clark Settles, special agent in charge ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Francisco. “Human traffickers prey on the powerless and the vulnerable. ICE Homeland Security Investigations and its federal law enforcement partners are committed to protecting those who cannot protect themselves.”

“The FBI will continue to work with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to relentlessly pursue and bring to justice sex traffickers who exploit and victimize juveniles,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Gavin of FBI San Francisco. “We will also work with our community partners to help those who are victimized get the assistance they need.”

In addition to HSI and the FBI, the other agencies involved in the case included the South San Francisco Police Department; the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office; the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit of the Criminal Section, Civil Rights Division; U.S. Department of Justice; and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice.

The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton. Judge Hamilton also sentenced Helen Singh, who was and will remain in custody, to a five-year period of supervised release following her prison term and ordered her to forfeit property and make restitution of $45,000 to one of the victims. Mahendar Singh, who also pleaded guilty previously, received the same sentence April 18.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew S. Huang prosecuted the case with the assistance of legal assistant Vanessa Vargas.

Anyone who suspects instances of human trafficking is encouraged to call the HSI tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE (866-347-2423) or the Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-888. Anonymous calls are welcome.

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Mexican National Pleads Guilty to Role in Interstate Prostitution Ring

An illegal alien from Mexico who lived in Riverdale, Md., pleaded guilty Monday, October 15, 2012, to transporting more than 100 women from other states to engage in commercial sex in Virginia.

The case was investigated by the Transnational Gang Unit of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), which participates in the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force.

Marco Sanchez Hernandez, also known as “Marquito,” 37, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport women to engage in prostitution. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison when he is sentenced Jan. 4, 2013.

In a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Sanchez Hernandez admitted that from 2005 through July 2012 he was part of a network that transported women to engage in commercial sex acts in Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia and various locations in Virginia, including Fairfax County, Prince William County, Alexandria, Arlington, Newport News, Norfolk and Virginia Beach. The women were instructed to charge $30 for 15 minutes of sex. In addition to transporting women to engage in sex acts, Sanchez Hernandez collected money from various drivers who also transported the women to the homes of customers. He also advertised the prostitution business by handing out business cards at Spanish restaurants, check cashing stores, construction sites and day laborer sites. Eventually, the proceeds of the operation were sent to the leader of the organization, who resides in Mexico.

Founded in 2004, the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force is a collaboration of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies – along with nongovernmental organizations – dedicated to combating human trafficking and related crimes. From 2011 to the present, 40 defendants have been prosecuted in 22 cases in the Eastern District of Virginia for human trafficking and trafficking-related conduct, involving at least 31 victims. Twelve of those defendants were gang members or associates prosecuted for sex trafficking juveniles in northern Virginia, with sentences imposed ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment.

Virginia Assistant Attorney General and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc J. Birnbaum, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Frank are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Puerto Rican Woman Indicted for Prostitution and Sex Trafficking

A Puerto Rican woman was indicted Wednesday, October 10, 2012, by a federal grand jury on prostitution and sex trafficking charges. The indictment follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

According to the indictment, from Sept. 28 to Oct. 3, Betsian Carrasquillo-Peñaloza, 34, of Loiza, Puerto Rico, recruited, enticed, harbored and transported a 14-year-old female identified as N.M.C.C. to engage in commercial sex acts. Carrasquillo-Peñaloza allegedly knew that the female was a minor.

“Sex trafficking is a deplorable crime, especially when it involves underage victims who are particularly vulnerable,” said Angel Melendez, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “Prostituting young girls is a growing threat in our area, and we encourage anyone with information about this activity to call law enforcement. Your call could save a girl from sexual slavery.”

On Oct. 3, HSI, working jointly with Puerto Rico Police Department officers in the vicinity of Isla Grande in San Juan, arrested Carrasquillo-Peñaloza for transporting a minor with the intent to prostitute. A federal grand jury formally charged the woman with an additional charge of sex trafficking Oct. 10.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.

HSI is a founding member and the U.S. representative of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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ICE Prostitution Sting Arrests 64

The arrest of 64 men and women for solicitation of prostitution was announced Friday, September 28, 2012, by the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the San Antonio Police Department.

“Operation Polar Bexar” was a nine-hour operation that took place Sept. 21. The operation was a proactive human trafficking enforcement action focusing on the demand for prostitution. The 64 arrested were charged with soliciting a prostitute. In addition to this state charge, 17 from Mexico and Honduras also face federal administrative charges for being in the country illegally. Once their state case is fully adjudicated, each will be turned over to ICE and placed in removal proceedings.

According to Bexar County Sheriff Amador Ortiz, a team of detectives posed as prostitutes. Those arrested showed up on foot, on bicycles and in personal and company-owned vehicles offering to pay for various forms of sexual encounters. Once a deal was made, they were immediately arrested upon entering a local hotel room.

“Today we want to send a message that this behavior will not be tolerated in our communities,” said Sheriff Ortiz. “Local authorities will go after you and bring you to justice.”

“HSI was proud to support the Bexar County Sheriff in this operation. Thanks to the hard work of law enforcement, 64 individuals were taken off the streets,” said Jerry Robinette, special agent in charge of HSI San Antonio. “HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure that those who commit this crime are held accountable for their actions.”

The Bexar County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting these cases.

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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HSI Arrests 23 in Prostitution Ring Bust

On Thursday, September 20, 2012, special agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and detectives and officers of the Maryland State Police (MSP), Howard County Police Department (HCPD), Anne Arundel County Police Department (AACOPD) and Laurel City Police Department (LCPD) conducted an enforcement operation targeting individuals soliciting prostitution in the area.

“HSI special agents spearheaded this tri-county public safety initiative with the Maryland State Police and police departments of Howard, Anne Arundel and Laurel City,” said HSI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge William Winter. “This enforcement action was an effort to further HSI criminal investigations. HSI together with our local and state law enforcement partners are committed to protecting Maryland communities and continue to identify and dismantle the criminal organizations involved in these illicit activities.”

Arrested by HCPD on Maryland state law charges of solicitation of a prostitute, assignation and disorderly conduct were 14 males residing in College Park, Md.; Columbia, Md.; Hyattsville, Md.; Jessup, Md.; Odenton, Md.; New Carrollton, Md.; Seat Pleasant, Md.; Silver Spring, Md.; Elysburg, Pa.; Marlin, Pa.; Alexandria, Va.; Woodbridge, Va. or Washington, D.C.;

Arrested by the AACOPD on Maryland state law charges of solicitation of a prostitute and assignation were seven males residing in Hyattsville, Md.; Laurel, Md.; Silver Spring, Md. or Centerville, Tenn.

Arrested by the LCPD on charges of solicitation of a prostitute were two males residing in Laurel or Rockville, Md.

“I am extremely proud of the officers and their contributions throughout this extensive operation,” said Anne Arundel Chief of Police Larry W. Tolliver. “Our agency will continue to work closely with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to focus on suppressing crime and improving the quality of life for citizens.”

“We welcome the opportunity to partner with other agencies in our efforts to send the message that Howard County will not tolerate prostitution,” said Howard County Police Chief William McMahon. “The disruption to neighborhoods brought on by these crimes is unacceptable. We continue to work with our communities to improve and preserve their quality of life.”

Laurel City Police Chief Richard McLaughlin said, “The City of Laurel Police Department found this to be a beneficial operation working with other local jurisdictions and found that mutual cooperation removes any jurisdictional limitations. The City of Laurel Police Department looks forward to future endeavors.”

“This is a public safety concern that crosses jurisdictional boundaries and we believe coordinating our efforts lead to a more successful enforcement initiative,” said Colonel Marcus Brown, superintendent of the MSP. “Our goal is to provide effective enforcement that addresses organized crime, while increasing the level of safety for the citizens of Maryland.”

The cases are being prosecuted by Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Howard County Office of the State’s Attorney and the Prince George’s County Office of the States Attorney.

The investigation is continuing.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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