FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
March 4, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DEFENDANT SENTENCED FOR TRANSPORTING ALIEN TO MARYLAND FOR PROSTITUTION
Case Investigated by the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force
Baltimore, Maryland - Juan Carlos Escobar Sanchez, age 23, a citizen of El Salvador residing in Reisterstown, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to coercion and enticement of an alien to cross state lines and engage in prostitution, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. United States District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced Sanchez to serve 10 months in prison and Escobar Sanchez consented to voluntary deportation from the United States after he serves his sentence.
According to the plea agreement, on October 20, 2008, an adult female traveled from New York to Maryland after Escobar Sanchez agreed to provide housing and transportation and schedule customers in exchange for a share of her prostitution earnings. On October 23, 2008, an undercover investigator contacted Escobar Sanchez and arranged to pay for a female prostitute. Within a short time, Sanchez drove to the agreed location with the woman, who was not a U.S. citizen. Escobar Sanchez and the woman were arrested and investigators recovered condoms, lubrication, five cellular telephones (including the cell phone called by the undercover investigator) and $816 from Escobar Sanchez and his vehicle.
The case was investigated by the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force (MHTTF), formed in 2007. Members include federal, state and local law enforcement, as well as victim service providers and local community members. The task force was created to discover and rescue victims of human trafficking while identifying and prosecuting offenders. In addition to Escobar Sanchez, two recent federal cases investigated by the MHTTF include: Lloyd Mack Royal III, a/k/a “Blyss,” a/k/a “B,” a/k/a “Furious,” age 28, and Angela Samantha Bentolila, age 26, who were charged with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking in a scheme to prostitute three minor females; and Deborah Gail Frock, age 39, of Westminster, Maryland, who was charged with sexually exploiting a minor to produce child pornography.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office, through the MHTTF, has taken additional steps to increase resources and public awareness in combating human trafficking in Maryland. In conjunction with the MHTTF, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has sponsored the deputation of local police officers from the Anne Arundel County Police Department and the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office to assist with human trafficking investigations. U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein offered his appreciation to Anne Arundel County Police Chief James Teare and Frederick County Sheriff Charles Jenkins, for their commitment in providing these investigators to the task force.
“Protecting our communities from the threats and vulnerabilities posed by criminal organizations engaged in human trafficking is a top priority for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE),” said Scot R. Rittenberg, Acting Special Agent in Charge for ICE in Baltimore. “As a member of the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, ICE will work with our law enforcement partners to investigate human trafficking. Equally as important is our commitment to rescuing and protecting victims of trafficking so we can put an end to this reprehensible form of modern day slavery.”
While increasing resources, the MHTTF also seeks to increase law enforcement and community education regarding human trafficking through training in the latest techniques to recognize victims and investigate these crimes. Through the MHTTF’s facebook page (www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=48015769861) and blog (www.mdhttf.blogspot.com) the task force further hopes to educate and reach young people, who are most likely to fall prey to these crimes.
In an effort to assist local law enforcement in detecting human trafficking, the MHTTF has initiated “Human Trafficking Search and Rescue” Operations, the first of which was conducted on February 26-27, 2009, in Glen Burnie and Crofton. Partnering with local and state law enforcement, including the Anne Arundel County Police Department, Annapolis City Police Department, Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Frank Weathersbee and his office, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, Howard County Police Department, Maryland State Police, and Montgomery County Police Department, information was developed regarding potential human traffickers and victims in Anne Arundel County. The two-day operation successfully led to the arrest of two individuals on state charges involving prostitution, receiving monies from prostitution, furthering a prostitution business, and possession of cocaine. Following these enforcement operations, members of the MHTTF Victim Services Subcommittee, led by Sidney Ford from YANA (You Are Never Alone), assisted potential victims. The MHTTF’s Public Awareness Subcommittee, led by Steven Hamilton from Vineyard Community Church, ended the operation by handing out flyers to local shops and neighbors in the areas of the operation to increase awareness. Additional operations are planned throughout Maryland over the next several months.
For more information about the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, please visit http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/md/Human-Trafficking/index.html.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Baltimore County Police Department for their investigative work in the Escobar Sanchez case; the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Montgomery County Police Department for their investigative work, and the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division for their assistance in the Royal case; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Maryland State Police and Carroll County State’s Attorney Jerry Barnes and his office for their assistance in the investigation and prosecution of Deborah Frock. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Solette Magnelli, who is prosecuting these cases and represents the U.S. Attorney’s Office on the MHTTF.