WASHINGTON – Ciro Bustos-Rosales, a citizen of Mexico, was sentenced today in federal court in Columbia, S.C., for his role in a sex trafficking ring involving at least one teenage girl. Bustos-Rosales was sentenced to 70 months in prison, ordered to pay restitution to the victims of his crimes in an amount of $52,500, and placed on supervised release for the rest of his life. As a condition of supervised release, U.S. District Judge Joseph F. Anderson Jr. ordered that Bustos-Rosales be surrendered to immigration officials for deportation proceedings and further ordered that Bustos-Rosales not return to the United States while on supervised release. The sentencing for Bustos-Rosales’ co-defendant, Jesus Perez-Laguna, also set for today, was continued after Perez-Laguna complained that he was not prepared to go forward with sentencing.
During their guilty plea hearings in September 2007, both men admitted that they were involved with transporting a 14-year-old girl across the border between the United States and Mexico and the border between North Carolina and South Carolina in order for the minor to engage in prostitution. Additionally, both men admitted that they harbored illegal aliens for the purpose of prostitution. “Sex traffickers prey on young women who are brought into the United States, far from home, and unaware of the U.S. legal system or their rights to be free from this form of involuntary servitude,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Grace Chung Becker. “Today’s sentencing is the result of the Justice Department’s commitment to prosecuting those who exploit vulnerable young women lured into this country with false promises of a better life.”
“What this child endured as a captive prostitute is sickening,” said Kevin F. McDonald, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina. “The agents that smashed this prostitution ring and the prosecutors who obtained these convictions are to be commended for their efforts in this important case.”
“Bustos-Rosales and his co-defendants ruthlessly stole the innocence of young girls and profited from their exploitation,” said Kenneth Smith, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Investigations in Atlanta. “Bringing these criminals to justice would not have been possible without cooperation among international, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.” Bustos-Rosales and Perez-Laguna are two of three defendants indicted in August 2007 by a federal grand jury in Columbia following a federal sex trafficking investigation. The third co-defendant, Guadalupe Reyes-Rivera, also known as “Mama Martina” is a fugitive.
The case was investigated by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and investigators with the Columbia (SC) Police Department. Because the sex trafficking activities in this case involved both South Carolina and North Carolina, this case and other cases springing from this investigation was jointly prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark C. Moore and Tara L. McGregor from the District of South Carolina, Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Ryan McKinstry, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimlani Ford and Kenneth Smith from the Western District of North Carolina.