Three Mexican Nationals Indicted in South Carolina Sex Trafficking Case
WASHINGTON – Three Mexican nationals were indicted yesterday for sex trafficking and related crimes, Assistant Attorney General Wan J. Kim of the Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Reginald I. Lloyd of the District of South Carolina announced.
According to the 20-count indictment, Jesus Perez-Laguna, Guadalupe Reyes-Rivera a.k.a. “Mama Martina,” and Ciro Bustos-Rosales violated federal law by conspiring between November 2006 and March 2007 to bring Mexican women into South Carolina for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex. The indictment alleges that in at least one instance the victim was 14 years old. The indictment also charges the defendants with various immigration violations including the harboring of illegal aliens.
“Too often, sex traffickers prey on young women who are brought into the United States illegally, thousands of miles from home, and unaware of the U.S. legal system or their rights to be free from this form of involuntary servitude,” said Assistant Attorney General Kim.
“The Justice Department takes these charges very seriously and is committed to prosecuting those who exploit vulnerable young women lured into this country with false promises of a better life,” added U.S. Attorney Lloyd.
If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum sentence of up to life in prison, and a combined fine of over $1 million.
An indictment is an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The Attorney General has made the prosecution of human trafficking crimes a top priority. In the last six fiscal years, the Civil Rights Division, in conjunction with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, has increased by six-fold the number of human trafficking cases filed in court.
The case was investigated by special agents of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and investigators with the Columbia (S.C.) Police Department. The case is being jointly prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark C. Moore and Tara L. McGregor, and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Ryan McKinstry.
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