WASHINGTON — Consuelo Carreto-Valencia, an accused sex trafficker extradited to the United States from Mexico in January, was arraigned today in federal court on a 27-count indictment charging her with multiple counts of sex trafficking and related crimes, the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security announced.
Carreto-Valencia was extradited to the United States on Jan. 20, 2007. She was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom in Brooklyn, N.Y. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Frederic Block.
Carreto-Valencia, her two sons, and three other defendants were indicted on Nov. 16, 2004, on charges of conspiracy, sex trafficking, forced labor, violations of the Mann Act, and immigration-related offenses. Together with her sons, Josue Flores Carreto and Gerardo Flores Carreto, and other family members, Carreto-Valencia operated a network based in San Miguel Tenancingo, Tlaxcala, Mexico that trafficked young women into forced prostitution in Mexico and New York City.
According to the indictment, male members of the Carreto family lured young, uneducated women and girls from impoverished areas of Mexico into romantic relationships and later, through a combination of deception, coercion, threats, and sexual and physical violence, forced the young women to work as prostitutes in Mexico and New York City. As part of this operation, Carreto-Valencia confined some of the women at her home in San Miguel Tenancingo, Mexico. She also collected the proceeds and profits received from the sex trafficking business in Mexico and in the United States.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The Carreto prosecution represents one of the largest sex trafficking cases to date brought under the provisions of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. On April 5, 2005, Carreto-Valencia’s sons, Josue and Gerardo Flores Carreto, pleaded guilty to all 27 counts of the indictment. On April 27, 2006, they were each sentenced to 50-year terms of imprisonment. A third defendant, Daniel Perez Alonso, who also pleaded guilty, received a 25-year sentence. The case is part of the Justice Department’s human trafficking initiative, which is one of its highest priorities.
“Sex trafficking is a heinous crime that ruins lives and robs victims of their dignity,” said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to vigorously seek out and prosecute those who forcibly deny freedom in the freest country in the world.” “Human trafficking is a crime of the cruelest exploitation. The Carreto criminal organization subjected its victims to physical abuse and prostitution and turned them into virtual slaves,” said Julie L. Myers, assistant secretary of Homeland Security for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “Carreto Valencia’s extradition from Mexico sends a clear message that these crimes will not be tolerated and those who engage in this criminal activity cannot evade prosecution.”
“Human traffickers prey on the hopes and dreams of their vulnerable victims, only to lure them into sexual slavery,” stated U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf. “This extradition opens another chapter in our continuing effort to vigorously prosecute those who seek to buy and sell human beings.”
The case is being prosecuted by Hilary Axam of the Civil Rights Division for the Department of Justice and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Pamela Chen and Monica E. Ryan.