On behalf of Raymond Giudice P.C. posted in Criminal Defense on Friday, February 21, 2014.
The-leader of a sex-trafficking ring that exploited dozens of women was sentenced today in Savannah to life in prison, The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia announced.
Joaquin Mendez-Hernandez, also known as “El Flaco,” was sentenced by U.S. District Court Senior Judge B. Avant Edenfield, said U.S. Attorney Edward Tarver. The prosecutor said it was the largest sex-trafficking investigation ever prosecuted in the Southern District.
Federal prosecutors said that Mendez-Hernandez headed an international sex trafficking organization that reached from Mexico to Savannah. Members of the outfit enticed women from Mexico, Nicaragua and elsewhere to travel to the U.S., for a better life in America, prosecutors said. Once in the U.S., the women were forced into prostitution in Savannah and across the South, prosecutors said.
Women were forced to have sex with as many as 50 people a day, prosecutors said. To ensure that they complied, members of Mendez-Hernandez’s criminal organization threatened women, used violence against them and held their children hostage in Mexico, prosecutors said.
Members of the criminal outfit also would trade their victims to other members who operated in other states, including Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina, prosecutors said.
“It is reprehensible that an international sex-trafficking organization set up shop within our very own communities,” said Tarver. ”This organization destroyed the lives of many victims through fear, violence, and intimidation, all for the love of money. Those responsible will now pay the price in a federal prison.”
The federal operation to break up the sex trafficking ring, dubbed “Operation Dark Knight, has resulted in guilty pleas from 23 defendants, prosecutors said. Twelve victims were rescued from the ring during the investigation, according to prosecutors who said they may also qualify for a special visa extended to victims of human trafficking who have assisted in investigations and prosecutions.
SOURCE: www.dailyreport.com “Sex-Trafficking Ring Leader Sentenced to Life in Prison,” John Disney, February 21, 2014.