LEXINGTON, KY - One of the leaders of a prostitution ring that operated in Lexington, Ky., pleaded guilty to charges today, marking the first sex trafficking conviction in Kentucky.
Marco Antonio Flores-Benitez, 38, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion. He agreed to a sentence of 180 months that will be imposed in July. Under federal law, sex trafficking is defined as a commercial sex act induced by force, fraud, or coercion.
Roxana Serna-Olea, 36, also a leader, pleaded guilty to persuading someone to travel in interstate commerce to engage in prostitution. Serna-Olea agreed to receive a prison sentence between 46 and 57 months. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for July.
Adrian Lezama-Ruiz, 26, and Roberto Salinas-Rivera, 35, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to persuade someone to travel in interstate commerce to engage in prostitution. Both also entered guilty pleas to an aiding and abetting charge.
According to court documents, starting in December 2006, Flores-Benitez and Serna-Olea operated a prostitution delivery service for customers between Lexington and Louisville. They also operated a brothel at Cross Keys drive in Lexington that Lezama-Ruiz managed.
As part of the conspiracy, some defendants recruited Spanish-speaking women from North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Maryland to travel to Kentucky to engage in prostitution under the direction of Flores-Benitez.
Clients paid the defendants $30 for 15 minutes of sexual activity and the women were expected by the defendants to engage in sex acts with multiple customers per day. Some of the defendants drove and delivered the prostitutes to customers in Fayette, Woodford, Oldham and Jefferson Counties in Kentucky.
In one instance, Serna-Olea recruited a woman for prostitution by convincing her to travel to Kentucky for reasons other than prostitution. However, once the woman arrived in Lexington, Serna-Olea persuaded the woman to engage in prostitution.
Kerry B. Harvey, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Ronnie J. Bastin, Chief, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Division of Police, Perrye Turner, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation and John R. Korkin, Supervisory Deportation Officer, Immigration & Customs Enforcement, Detention & Removal Operations and Ray Larson, Fayette Commonwealth Attorney jointly made the announcement today.
Serna-Olea and Flores-Benitez will be sentenced on July 26.
The investigation was conducted by Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Division of Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Immigration & Customs Enforcement. Assistant United States Attorneys Hydee R. Hawkins and David A. Marye represented the government in this case.