Five Charged in Scheme to Transport Prostitutes to Work in Brothels in Annapolis and Easton, Maryland

November 16, 2010

Baltimore, Maryland - Five men were charged in a criminal complaint and nine search warrants were executed yesterday in connection with a scheme to transport individuals from Virginia and Washington, D.C. to engage in prostitution in Annapolis and Easton, Maryland.

The criminal complaint was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Chief Michael Pristoop of the Annapolis Police Department; and Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Homeland Security Investigations.

“These arrests and search warrants are the result of many months of hard work. We are grateful to our federal partners from whom we received invaluable assistance. Human trafficking, prostitution and associated violence are intolerable in any community. Yesterday, our partnership made Annapolis even safer,” said Chief Michael Pristoop of the Annapolis Police Department.

“This investigation is an excellent example of federal and local law enforcement working cooperatively to dismantle a criminal organization that used violence to ensure that their organization continued to profit from the exploitation of women,” said William Winter, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Baltimore. “HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute criminals who profit through the exploitation of others.”

Charged in the criminal complaint are: German de Jesus Ventura, age 32, of Capitol Heights, Maryland; Kerlin Esau Esquivel-Feuntes, age 23, of Annapolis, Maryland; Luis Alberto Reyes, age 28; Isidro Jiminez-Sanchez and Wibert Alejandro Herrera-Aranda, both age 32, of Easton, Maryland. Ventura was arrested yesterday and is expected to have an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Baltimore later today. Jiminez-Sanchez and Herrera-Aranda are in state custody on related charges. Esquivel-Fuentes and Reyes are fugitives. All of the defendants are illegal aliens.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, since at least September 2008, Ventura has allegedly run brothels in Annapolis, Easton and elsewhere in Maryland, using and threatening to use violence against competitor pimps. According to the criminal complaint, Esquivel-Fuentes, Jiminez-Sanchez and Herrera-Aranda assisted Ventura in running the brothels, advertising the brothel, making appointments for the prostitutes and collecting money. The complaint also alleges that Reyes assisted in transporting the sex workers to the brothel locations, as well as purchasing supplies.

The defendants face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for transporting individuals to engage in prostitution.

A criminal complaint is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the Annapolis Police Department and ICE- Homeland Security Investigations the for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys P. Michael Cunningham and Rachel M. Yasser, who are prosecuting the case.

The case was investigated by the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force formed in 2007 to discover and rescue victims of human trafficking while identifying and prosecuting offenders.  Members include federal, state and local law enforcement, as well as victim service providers and local community members.  For more information about the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, please visit Human-Trafficking.

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