FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: (919) 856-4530
Thursday, December 15, 2005
BROTHEL OPERATOR PLEADS GUILTY TO
SEX TRAFFICKING OFFENSES
RALEIGH - United States Attorney Frank D. Whitney announced that today, VALENTE CHAVEZ SANCHEZ, 33, of Raleigh, North Carolina, entered a guilty plea to charges in federal court before United States District Court Judge Terrence W. Boyle. Pursuant to written plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, SANCHEZ pled guilty to sex trafficking of a minor and the interstate transportation of persons with the intent that such persons engage in prostitution. A sentencing hearing will be held at a later date.
According to the indictment and information in the public record, the conspirators arranged for women to be transported from other states, such as New York, New Jersey, and Maryland, and within the State of North Carolina, for the purpose of prostitution at one of several rented homes in the Eastern District of North Carolina. At each brothel, the conspirators sold “tickets” to men seeking a prostitute. A “ticket” sold for $25.00 each and were for 15 minutes of sex with a prostitute.
For each customer, a prostitute was “paid” $15.00, with the remaining $10.00 to the house operators. On average a prostitute made $750 a week. Based on this estimate, the house’s cut would be $500 a week per prostitute.
Armed bodyguards at the brothels insured that the customers did not exceed the allotted 15 minutes. The conspirators would also restrain by lock and key, when necessary, the women and girls in their service as prostitutes.
The conspirators also recruited minor children within the Eastern District of North Carolina and elsewhere, transported such minor children to prostitution houses, and had such minor children engage in commercial sex activity. One such minor was 14 years of age when she was recruited. On or about May 20, 2003, SANCHEZ told this minor girl that she would be working as a prostitute, and had her engage in commercial sex activity in a brothel in the Eastern District of North Carolina until on or about September 11, 2003. He told this minor that if the police ever caught her, she was to say nothing. SANCHEZ would collect the monies from the brothel house where she was, pay her at the end of the week, and would transport other women between the prostitution houses on a weekly basis.
Another co-conspirator, PRICILIANO MORA-BUENO, was prosecuted by the Middle District of North Carolina for, among other things, the illegal transportation of persons for the purpose of prostitution. In the factual basis for his guilty plea, MORA-BUENO stipulated that he knowingly transported women, who were illegal aliens, in interstate commerce from New York, Maryland, and
New Jersey, to North Carolina for the purpose of engaging in prostitution. The women would be transported every Sunday evening, and would arrive in North Carolina the next day. On the way to North Carolina, MORA-BUENO, or another conspirator, would place a phone call to the prostitution house operators to see if they wanted new prostitutes. Prostitution house operators would pick up/exchange prostitutes in Greensboro, North Carolina, usually on a weekly basis. The prostitution house operators would pay MORA-BUENO $130 for the exchange of each prostitute.
SANCHEZ contacted MORA-BUENO sometime in 2002 to transport prostitutes to North Carolina for him. SANCHEZ used MORA-BUENO's transport services approximatly 20 times from the first call in 2002 to May 17, 2004. SANCHEZ would pay $120.00 for each prostitute transported to Raleigh, North Carolina, for SANCHEZ. SANCHEZ, or one of the brothel bodyguards, would pick up the women and transport them to the prostitution house.
To advertise the brothels, the conspirators created fake business cards. The business cards would be distributed at flea markets in the Raleigh area. In this case, during an August 2004 search of a residence used by SANCHEZ, officers found a box of business cards for “plumbing services” listing the address of 3305 Poole Road, Raleigh, North Carolina, which was identified as an active brothel. In addition, the cards listed phone numbers identified as belonging to SANCHEZ.
Law enforcement officers estimate that the criminal proceeds from this particular operation exceeded $100,000 annually.
William V. Hall, Postal Inspector in Charge stated, "It is only through a team effort that we can continue to combat the sexual exploitation of North Carolina's most precious resources - our children."
Investigation of the case was conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Services and the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Assistant United States Attorney Banumathi Rangarajan is prosecuting the case for the United States.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.