Conspirator Convicted in Prince George’s County Prostitution Ring
Greenbelt, Maryland - A federal jury convicted Eduardo Puentes, a/k/a “Carlos,” a/k/a “The Columbian,” age 42, of Rockville, Maryland, today of conspiracy to transport at least 100 women from New York and New Jersey to Maryland to employ them as prostitutes, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
According to testimony at the one and a half week trial, each week from September 2003 to November 2005, Puentes conspired with others to transport women from New York and New Jersey to Maryland to employ them as prostitutes.
Witnesses testified that Puentes and his co-conspirators communicated with these women by cell phone at least a week prior to their travel to Maryland, and scheduled them to work in brothels that they operated in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Witnesses testified that the conspirators also regularly communicated with each other by cellular phones to coordinate the local transportation of the prostitutes between brothels as well as the pick up of cash generated by the business. The conspirators picked the women up early on Monday mornings at pre-arranged locations in New York and New Jersey and dropped them off in Maryland where they worked as prostitutes for a week at a time. Puentes and co-conspirator Aida Pereira rented apartments in Maryland for use as places of prostitution. A doorman collected money from customers and provided security for the prostitutes. The conspirators provided the prostitutes with food and supplies for a set weekly fee. Witnesses testified that Puentes and Pereira collected the money from the places of prostitution and then distributed the proceeds among the co-conspirators. The conspirators would return the prostitutes to New York and New Jersey on Sunday evenings, and then return to Maryland the next day with a new group of prostitutes.
According to trial testimony, Puentes assisted his co-conspirators in: purchasing, registering and insuring vans used to transport the prostitutes; renting apartments for use as brothels; collecting money from the brothels; delivering supplies, such as condoms; and standing watch over the brothels to protect them from robberies.
Throughout the course of the conspiracy, the conspirators operated at least five different brothels in Maryland, including apartments in Langley Park, Maryland.
Puentes faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams has scheduled his sentencing for July 1, 2009 at 9:30 a.m.
Co-conspirators Aida Pereira, a/k/a “Paty,” age 35, of Silver Spring, Maryland; Iris Y. Martinez-Solarzano, age 35, of Hyattsville, Maryland; and Jose Hugo Chacon Roque, age 45, of Hyattsville previously pleaded guilty to the same charge and each faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. has scheduled Martinez-Solarzano’s sentencing for April 30, 2009; Roque’s sentencing for May 7, 2009; and Pereira’s sentencing for May 30, 2009, all at 9:30 a.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the investigative work performed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chan Park and Christen A. Sproule, who are prosecuting the case.