United States Attorney Loretta E. Lynch has announced the extradition and arraignment of four Mexican sex traffickers in a comprehensive anti-trafficking program, which has to date indicted 52 defendants in sex trafficking cases and rescued over 100 victims, including 17 minors.
Two Mexican nationals, Benito Lopez-Perez and Anastasio Romero-Perez, were arraigned on a 25-count indictment which charges the defendants with sex trafficking, interstate prostitution, alien smuggling and money laundering offenses, involving victims as young as 14 and 15 years old. A third defendant in that case, Jose Gabino Barrientos-Perez, was extradited from Mexico and also arraigned.
Lynch also released information on the successful reunification of a Mexican sex trafficking victim with her child, who was being held in Mexico by members of the trafficking organization. The man who had trafficked the victim and fathered the child was convicted in 2005 of multiple counts of sex trafficking and numerous other crimes.
Between January 2003 and October 2010, Benito Lopez-Perez (“Lopez-Perez”), Jose Gabino Barrientos-Perez (“Barrientos-Perez”) and Anastasio Romero-Perez (“Romero Perez”), who are brothers, are charged with trafficking three young Mexican women,
and forcing them to work as prostitutes in New York City and elsewhere in the United States. The defendants recruited and enticed the three victims when they were 14 and 15
years old in Mexico. After luring the victims into intimate relationships through false promises of romance and marriage, the defendants forced the victims to work for the defendants as prostitutes in Mexico. The defendants beat and sexually assaulted the victims to compel them to work as prostitutes and punish them for not earning enough money for the defendants, and the victims were required to turn over all of their earnings to the defendants. The defendants also threatened violence against the victims’ family members to prevent the victims from running away.
In July 2005, Lopez-Perez, Barrientos-Perez and Romero-Perez began smuggling
the victims into the United States illegally to work as prostitutes. The defendants housed the victims in apartments in New York City. Each day, the victims were driven to locations throughout New York City and to other states to engage in prostitution. The three brothers worked together, frequently relying on each other to watch over the victims when any of the brothers traveled back to Mexico.
After the victims had arrived in the United States, the defendants directed the victims to send the money they earned from prostitution to the defendants’ family members in Mexico. At the defendants’ direction, the victims went to various wire transfer service companies in New York City on a regular basis and sent sums of money ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to the defendants’ family members in Mexico. The defendants also directed the victims to use fake names when sending the money.
If convicted of sex trafficking, these defendants face mandatory minimum sentences of 15 years and maximum sentences of life in prison.