Making Immigration Happen
Chicago Woman Arrested for Selling Fraudulent Identity Documents to Illegal Aliens
A woman was arrested Wednesday, February 13, 2013, on charges she allegedly sold fraudulent identity documents to illegal aliens. These charges resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigra

Tag Archives: sex trafficking

Operation Dark Night Charges 13 Additional Defendants for Sex Trafficking

A superseding indictment, returned Thursday, February 7, 2013, in federal court, has added 13 more defendants for their roles in an alleged sex trafficking and prostitution ring operating in Mexico, Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and elsewhere. In total, 25 defendants have now been charged in the superseding indictment, which follows the original 12-defendant indictment returned in January.

The federal charges follow a lengthy investigation dubbed “Operation Dark Night,” led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). In addition to the 12 arrests and nearly 20 search warrants executed in January, federal authorities rescued 11 women alleged to have been forced into prostitution. The investigation of this case remains ongoing.

United States Attorney Edward Tarver said, “The superseding indictment adds even more gruesome details to the allegations of an already reprehensible human trafficking ring operating within our very own communities. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners will not stop until all of those responsible are brought to justice.”

“The superseding indictment alleges that this sex trafficking ring was even more extensive and ruthless,” said Brock D. Nicholson, special agent in charge of HSI Atlanta. “Over a dozen new suspects, including ‘johns,’ have now been added. Of more concern are new allegations that members of this conspiracy arranged to hold some of their victims’ children hostage in Mexico to ensure their compliance as prostitutes in the United States. The investigation in Operation Dark Night will continue until we have rooted out all of the bad actors in this conspiracy and have brought them to justice.”

According to allegations in the superseding indictment, some of the defendants would entice women from Mexico and elsewhere to travel to the United States with false promises of the American dream. Once inside the United States, these women were allegedly threatened and forced to commit acts of prostitution at numerous locations in Savannah, Ga., and throughout the southeast. Women were alleged to have been forced to perform as many as 25 acts of prostitution a day.

Tarver stressed that an indictment is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendants’ guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

HSI provides relief to victims of human trafficking by allowing for their continued presence in the United States during criminal proceedings. Victims may also qualify for a T-visa, which is issued to victims of human trafficking who have complied with reasonable requests for assistance in investigations and prosecutions. 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 1-888-373-7888. Anonymous calls are welcome.

Operation Dark Night was led by HSI, with assistance from the FBI; the ATF; U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP); CBP Air and Marine Operations; Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS); IRS-Criminal Investigations; the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department; the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office; the Garden City Police Department; and, the Chatham County Counter Narcotics Team.

Attorney Alex Meyerovich Speaks Out Against Human Trafficking on Connecticut News12

BRIDGEPORT, Conn.– M.C. Law Group Attorney Alex Meyerovich recently appeared on the Connecticut News12 program “Our Lives” to speak out against human trafficking.

Also known as “modern day slavery,” reported cases of human trafficking have risen 60% in 2011 compared to 2010, according to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (HTRS). Reported cases of human trafficking have been steadily increasing for the last five years.

Attorney Meyerovich discussed human trafficking with “Our Lives” host Gwen Edwards, and explained that human trafficking is on the rise because the financial gain of exploiting human life is simply too great.

“It’s widespread because it’s cheap labor, and billions of dollars are involved — it’s supply and demand,” Meyerovich said.

Human trafficking occurs when a victim is held hostage and forced to work against their will, commonly as commercial sex workers, drug traffickers, or laborers in unregulated industries. Victims are often held in deplorable conditions and suffer physical and sexual abuse.

Attorney Meyerovich, whose firm specializes in immigration law, knows how susceptible illegal immigrants are in particular to human traffickers. Immigrants pay smugglers to be brought into the U.S. illegally, and on arrival smugglers demand more money from their captives. Immigrants then must work to repay their “debts,” and are held hostage with threats of violence or deportation.

“I’ve dealt with victims running away from drug cartels and sexual exploitation,” said Meyerovich of past clients affected by human trafficking. “They’re traumatized and afraid to talk.”

Human trafficking victims are not likely to seek help for fear of retribution. The problem goes unnoticed by most Americans because victims remain silent and are often hidden in plain sight.

Meyerovich also urged parents to be aware of how vulnerable children are to human traffickers and sexual exploitation, especially in an age of exposure through social media.

“People need to know that it happens, and that it is very easy to manipulate kids’ minds,” Meyerovich said. “Children are extorted and threatened to be exposed on Facebook, or to their parents and teachers…and they become victims of sexual exploitation.”

In fact, sex trafficking preys on Americans at a shocking rate, with HTRS reporting that 80% of sex trafficking victims are U.S. citizens. “Our Lives” host Ms. Edwards and Meyerovich urged viewers — and especially parents — to be aware that human trafficking and sexual exploitation exists in communities throughout the U.S.

“Parents need to be educated that their kid’s classmate could be a victim of human trafficking,” Meyerovich added, explaining that young victims may still attend school, but may act shy and fearful of their peers and teachers.

Ultimately, Meyerovich offered a dual solution to combat human trafficking: increased awareness and immigration reform. Only with both, Meyerovich explained, will “modern day slavery” become a thing of the past.

Watch the full “Our Lives” segment featuring Attorney Meyerovich by following the link below:

Attorney Alex Meyerovich Interviewed About Human Trafficking

To learn more about human trafficking, including how to recognize victims and report suspected cases, visit the National Human Trafficking Resource Center.

Man Pleads Guilty to Transporting Prostitutes to Massage Parlor

An Annandale, Va., man pleaded guilty Wednesday, October 31, 2012, to operating an unlicensed taxi business that brought women from other states to perform sexual services for patrons at an Annandale-based massage parlor.

The case was investigated by the Washington, D.C. offices of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, with assistance by the Fairfax County Police Department.

Jin Seob Oh, 41, originally from South Korea, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport women to engage in prostitution, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a penalty of up to 20 years. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 15, 2013.

In a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Oh admitted that from 2010 to June 2012, he owned and operated an unlicensed taxi business known as “Royal Taxi.” From February 2011 to April 2012, Oh served as the primary taxi driver for women who worked at “Peach Therapy,” a massage parlor located in Annandale that provided sexual services to customers.

The former owner of Peach Therapy, Susan Lee Gross, also known as “Ju Mee Lee Gross,” 46, originally from South Korea but now of Trinidad, Colo., encouraged or instructed the women to only obtain transportation from Oh to minimize the number of people who knew the details about the women working at Peach Therapy, the sexual nature of the business, and how they were transported to the massage parlor. The women paid him $40 per trip.

At the direction of Lee Gross, Oh also deposited thousands of dollars of proceeds from commercial sexual activity into Bank of America accounts that belonged to Lee Gross and those opened in the name of a family member. He admitted that he understood that these bank accounts were used to conceal the unlawful source of the money and to ensure that activity could continue.

This case was investigated by HSI, which participates in the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force, as does IRS-CI and NCIS.

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, 44 defendants have been prosecuted in 25 cases in the Eastern District of Virginia for human trafficking and trafficking-related conduct involving at least 32 victims.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Frank is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

MS-13 Gang Officially Designated a Transnational Criminal Organization by HSI

On Thursday, October 11, 2012, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) with the assistance of the Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) designated the Latin American gang Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) as a transnational criminal organization (TCO). This group is being designated by Treasury pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13581, which targets significant TCOs and their supporters. E.O. 13581 is a key part of the National Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime.

Using the authority provided in E.O. 13581, Treasury is targeting the economic power of MS-13 as a transnational criminal network – and those individuals and entities who work with them, enable them and support them – by freezing any assets those persons may have within U.S. jurisdiction. Any property or property interests in the U.S., or in the possession or control of U.S. persons in which these targets have an interest are blocked, and U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

“This designation allows us to strike at the financial heart of MS-13 and is a powerful weapon in our fight to dismantle one of the most violent, transnational criminal organizations operating today,” said ICE Director John Morton. “History has proven that we can successfully take down organized crime groups when we combine sophisticated investigative techniques with tough street level enforcement, cutting off cash flows, contraband and collaborators to ensure they no longer find safe haven in our communities.”

“MS-13 is an extremely violent and dangerous gang responsible for a multitude of crimes that directly threaten the welfare and security of U.S. citizens, as well as countries throughout Central America,” Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen stated. “This action positions us to target the associates and financial networks supporting MS-13, and gives law enforcement an additional tool in its efforts to disrupt MS-13’s activities.”

MS-13 is being designated for its involvement in serious criminal activities, including drug trafficking, human smuggling and sex trafficking, murder and violence, racketeering, and immigration offenses. MS-13, consisting of at least 30,000 members and present in at least five countries, including the United States, is one of the most dangerous criminal gangs in the world today. MS-13 violently protects its illicit interests through murder, murder for hire, kidnapping, blackmail, extortion and assassination. MS-13’s creed is exemplified by one of its mottos, “mata, roba, viola, controla,” which translates in sum and substance to “kill, steal, rape, control.” In addition, MS-13 members have been responsible for numerous killings within the United States.

The HSI National Gang Unit will take the law enforcement lead, under this MS-13 enforcement effort dubbed, “Operation Barbed Wire.” The National Gang Unit removes gang members from our neighborhoods and, when appropriate, from the United States. In 2005, HSI initiated Operation Community Shield, an international law enforcement initiative to enhance U.S. public safety. Operation Community Shield partners with existing federal, state and local anti-gang efforts to identify violent street gangs and develop intelligence on gang members and associates, gang criminal activities and international movements, to arrest, prosecute, imprison and/or deport transnational gang members as well as to suppress violence and prosecute criminal enterprises. The National Gang Unit’s goal is to deter, disrupt and dismantle gang operations by tracing and seizing cash, weapons and other assets derived from criminal activities. Since 2006, HSI has arrested 4,078 MS-13 gang members and, partnering with the U.S. Department of Justice, has successfully brought to indictment numerous MS-13 racketeering investigations in Washington, D.C., Virginia, New York, San Francisco, Houston, and Atlanta.

MS-13 is the first transnational criminal street gang designated as a TCO. Others TCOs include the The Brothers’ Circle, Camorra, Yakuza, and Los Zetas in the United States.

Criminal Alien Arrested for Sex Trafficking

A Maryland man was arrested late September 5, 2012, by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents on federal charges of transporting a teen girl as part of his prostitution business.

Julio Cesar Revolorio Ramos, 28, of Adelphi, Md., a native of Guatemala illegally present in the United States, faces a maximum penalty of life in prison, if convicted.

“Sex trafficking of a minor is a particularly heinous crime,” said John P. Torres, special agent in charge of HSI Washington, D.C. “HSI is fully committed to working with our law enforcement partners, both locally and internationally, to combat the crime of human trafficking.”

According to court documents, Ramos allegedly operated a prostitution service that transported women from Maryland to engage in commercial sex with clients in northern Virginia. Starting in January 2009 – when the victim was 15 years old – Ramos allegedly prostituted the teen girl from Maryland, and he continued to prostitute her at various times over the next year and a half. Court records allege that the victim was recruited by Ramos’s girlfriend and that the victim lived with them at a residence in Hyattsville, Md.

“We have zero-tolerance for those who exploit vulnerable teen girls for profit,” said Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Juvenile prostitution is an unconscionable crime, and we’re determined to put these prostitution rings out of business in northern Virginia.”

“Juvenile sex traffickers represent the worst kind of predators – those who go after children,” said Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli, II. “My office remains committed to protecting Virginia’s most vulnerable citizens from these predators. It is my hope that this arrest will put us one step closer to eradicating human trafficking in Virginia, which is why this task force was put together.”

This case was investigated by HSI with assistance from the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force. Virginia Assistant Attorney General and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Birnbaum and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Frank are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

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.

El Salvador National Charged for Sex Trafficking

An illegal alien from El Salvador was charged Wednesday, May 30, 2012, for child sex trafficking in four Kentucky counties, announced David J. Hale, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky. The indictment 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, 28, is charged with the following crimes: conspiring to recruit, entice, harbor and transport two juveniles to engage in commercial sex acts; aiding and abetting in sex trafficking juveniles; and attempting to persuade, induce, entice and coerce a juvenile to engage in prostitution. De Aquino-Cancino was indicted May 16 by a grand jury in Bowling Green.

According to an affidavit filed by an HSI special agent, between August 2011 and January
2012, De Aquino-Cancino recruited females and arranged for commercial sexual encounters; he transported them, and benefited financially from commercial sex  transactions involving two minor females and several adult females in Green, Taylor, Adair and Barren counties in the Western District of Kentucky.

On Jan.19, De Aquino-Cancino was interviewed by a Kentucky State Police detective.
De Aquino-Cancino allegedly stated that he knew several girls in the Campbellsville, Ky.,
area who were prostitutes. He further stated that he travelled to Campbellsville, picked up the prostitutes, and took them to different locations where they performed commercial sex acts with the defendant’s friends. The prostitutes in turn paid De Aquino-Cancino for driving them to the locations. De Aquino-Cancino allegedly identified the two juveniles and affirmed that he knew what he was doing with these young girls was illegal. Following this interview, De Aquino-Cancino was arrested by Kentucky State Police.

If convicted, De Aquino-Cancino faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years
imprisonment and a maximum of life in prison, a $500,000 fine, and up to a lifetime of supervised release.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua D. Judd, Western District of Kentucky, is prosecuting the
case. A grand jury indictment is an accusation only; the accused is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or

Illegal Alien Brothers Busted for Prostitution Ring

An interstate prostitution ring based in Indianapolis that was operated by three brothers – all illegal aliens – has been dismantled and the brothers sentenced, announced Joseph H. Hogsett, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.

This prosecution was the result of an extensive investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies, including: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); FBI; the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department; the Marion County Sheriff’s Department; and the Addison (Ill.) Police Department.

Gregorio Hernandez-Castilla, 34, of Indianapolis, was sentenced May 9 by U.S. District Judge William T. Lawrence to 41 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to operate an interstate prostitution ring with his two brothers.

This follows the sentencing of both Jose Luis Hernandez-Castilla, of Indianapolis, and Norberto Hernandez-Castilla, of Chicago, to 51 months in prison each on similar charges. All three men were illegally residing in the United States.

“For years, this criminal organization moved women like human merchandise all over
this city and across the Midwest,” Hogsett said. “I am proud to announce today that we have finalized our effort to completely dismantle this dangerous group, bringing an end to their cycle of exploitation.”

According to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gayle L. Helart and Bradley P. Shepard, who prosecuted the case for the government, Judge Lawrence found in sentencing the Hernandez-Castilla brothers that all three had used force and the threat of force against women involved in their criminal operation in an effort to coerce their continued cooperation.

“Our office has made it a priority to aggressively prosecute individuals who capitalize on the misfortune of others,” Hogsett said. “Through the groundbreaking work of our front-line federal prosecutors, we will continue to pursue and hold accountable those found guilty of such heinous crimes.”

The Hernandez-Castilla criminal organization was headed by the three brothers and
had been operating for a number of years in the Indianapolis area, largely under the
direction of Jose Luis Hernandez-Castilla. The brothers would acquire women to act as prostitutes, on many occasions smuggling them into the United States from Mexico
and Central America. Once here, many were often without a means by which to make money, and thus would engage in prostitution so as to pay off debts they owed the brothers for subsidizing their entry into the country.

In addition, the brothers directed another group of individuals who acted as local
managers, running prostitution operations out of apartments and houses located
throughout Indianapolis and in surrounding states, including Michigan, Illinois
and Ohio. The women engaged in prostitution were rarely allowed to stay in any one location for more than a week, and the operation employed numerous drivers who would
transport the women from one site to another on a regular basis.

The organization itself operated almost exclusively within the Hispanic community,
advertising its services through the distribution of business cards bearing advertisements and telephone numbers for auto repair or western wear outfitters. These business cards were known within the Hispanic community as contact numbers for arranging appointments with prostitutes.

Each appointment, referred to as a “ticket,” cost between $40 and $50.

In addition to the Hernandez-Castilla brothers, twelve other named defendants are
facing charges for their roles in the operation. They include the following individuals, all of whom are illegal aliens and were Indianapolis residents, unless otherwise indicated:

  • Elvin Herrera
  • Hector Elizalde-Hernandez
  • Javier Aguilera-Sanchez (Mich.)
  • Fredy Arnulfo Valle-Soto
  • Jose Mejia
  • Reynel Lagos-Martinez (Ohio)
  • Dominga Polanco
  • Israel Ortiz
  • Jorge Armando Rodriguez-Sanchez
  • Julio Aguilar-Rodriguez *
  • Fortino Ramirez-Fernandez *
  • Santos Nunez *

*Note: Julio Aguilar-Rodriguez has a change-of-plea and sentencing hearing scheduled
for May 30, 2012. Fortino Ramirez-Fernandez and Santos Nunez remain fugitives at this time.

A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Owner of Georgia Bordello Pleads Guilty to Harboring of Illegal Aliens

A Marietta, Ga., woman pleaded guilty Friday, April 20, to conspiracy to entice individuals to cross state lines to engage in prostitution and to encourage and induce aliens to reside unlawfully in the United States, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the FBI and the Cobb County Police Department.

According to court documents, Luz Gutierrez, 56, operated a house of prostitution in Marietta, in which she employed illegal aliens both as house caretakers and prostitutes. In addition to employing prostitutes who lived in Georgia, Gutierrez regularly solicited illegal alien prostitutes living in other states, including Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and Massachusetts, to travel to Georgia, where they worked for Gutierrez and Epifania Sanchez Delarosa, her co-defendant, who also allegedly operated brothels. Gutierrez also recruited
prostitutes who lived in Georgia to travel to Alabama and work for an associate of Gutierrez who owned and managed brothels in that state.

Gutierrez was indicted in December on two counts of conspiracy, two counts of enticing
individuals to cross state lines to engage in prostitution, and two counts of encouraging and inducing aliens to reside unlawfully in the United States. She pleaded guilty to one conspiracy count. She could receive a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 10 before United States District Judge Timothy C. Batten.

Bar Owners in Houston Sentenced for Human Trafficking

Two leaders of a sex-trafficking organization, who forced Mexican females to work at Houston-area bars and restaurants, were sentenced Monday, April 9, to federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas.

The criminal charges resulted from a three-year investigation by the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance (HTRA) in Houston, which includes the following agencies: the FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Alcoholic and Beverage Commission, Texas Attorney General’s Office, the Department of State, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Houston Police Department.

Maria Rojas, aka “Nancy,” 47, and Jose Luis Rojas, 39, were each sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes to 16 years for conspiring to commit sex trafficking, and to 10 years for conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens. The sentences will run concurrently. Maria Rojas, who also pleaded guilty to illegally re-entering the United States after being deported, received an additional 24 months, which will be served concurrently with her other sentences. On Nov. 28, 2011, Maria and Jose Luis Rojas pleaded guilty to conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens, as well as conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.

The two were charged with a conspiracy to recruit Mexican women and girls to travel to the United States with the false expectation of legitimate jobs in bars and restaurants. Once the women and girls arrived in the U.S., they were forced into prostitution in one of the defendants’ bars. The conspirators further relied on the services of pimps to supply the women for prostitution, and maintain control of the women. Maria Rojas was the owner of
La Costenita, formerly Playa Sola, as well as El Club Restaurante, formerly La Cueva Restaurante Bar, both located on Clinton Drive in Houston. Jose Luis Rojas operated La

Eight others were also charged in the indictment with conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens. Javier Guevara Belmontes, 46, also owned, controlled and operated La Costenita and El Club Restaurante. Maday Martinez, 34, and Evelin Carolina Aguera, 37, worked as managers; Claudia Perez Ramirez, Silvano Santos aka “Chivas,” Francisco Maradiaga Jimenez aka “Pancho,” and Olvan Ramirez Caceres worked at La Costenita as lookouts alerting police presence. The final defendant, Aleyda Juarez, passed out condoms and charged the females $15 for the condom and use of the rooms.

Aguera, Santos, Ramirez, Jimenez, Caceres and Juarez have pleaded guilty and have been
sentenced to terms ranging from eight to 11 months for their roles in the conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens; all will be deported after they complete their prison sentences. Martinez and Belmontes have also pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

Judge Hughes ordered the forfeiture of two bars, one restaurant, and several properties which the court found were used to facilitate these crimes. The proceeds from these forfeitures will be used to aid the victims in this case. A hearing will be held on April 16 to address restitution in the case.

The HTRA was formed by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Houston to concentrate and combine resources of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and non-governmental service organizations to target human traffickers, while providing necessary
services to the victims of the traffickers. The Houston HTRA was one of the first of 42 such funded organizations, and the first of its kind in Texas.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ruben R. Perez and Joe Magliolo, Southern District of Texas,
prosecuted the case; Katherine Haden is handling the asset forfeitures.

ICE Investigates Teen Prostitution Ring

The U.S. attorney for the district of Connecticut, David B. Fein, acknowledged U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for its relentless investigation of a Connecticut man who pleaded guilty on October 25, 2011 to one count of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

The guilty plea by Theodore Briggs, also known as “PeeJaye,” 23, of Norwalk, Connecticut, was announced by Fein, who credited HSI and the Norwalk Police Department with bringing Briggs to justice.

“The U.S. attorney’s office is committed to prosecuting sex trafficking crimes that involve the victimization of minors,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein. “I want to commend ICE Homeland Security Investigations and the Norwalk Police Department for their vigilance in investigating this heinous criminal activity.”

“We view this acknowledgement as a testament to our unwavering commitment to investigate these crimes cooperatively with local law enforcement to develop the strongest evidence possible to successfully prosecute these cases,” said Bruce M. Foucart, special agent in charge of HSI in New England. “Our efforts to identify, investigate and prosecute child predators remain relentless.”

According to court records, Briggs and others were involved in a prostitution business. In pleading guilty, Briggs admitted that, in November and December 2010, he knowingly prostituted a minor female victim. At the time, the girl was 14 years old. Briggs and others transported the girl from Connecticut to New York and Atlantic City, N.J., to engage in prostitution. As part of his prostitution enterprise, Briggs posted photographs of the young victim on a website known as Briggs kept most, if not all of the proceeds that the victim earned for engaging in sex acts with men.

Briggs is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall on Jan.13, 2012. He faces a mandatory minimum 10-year prison term and a maximum term of imprisonment for life.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alina P. Reynolds and Krishna R. Patel prosecuted this case which was heard by U.S. Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons in Bridgeport.