Press Releases


Three Mexican Brothers Sentenced For Sex Trafficking

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 7, 2014

Defendants Trafficked Minor Girls and Women from Mexico and Forced Them to Work in Prostitution

Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, three brothers were sentenced to lengthy prison terms following their pleas of guilty to sex trafficking charges. Benito Lopez-Perez and Anastasio Romero-Perez were sentenced to 18 years of imprisonment to be followed by 5 years of supervised release, and Jose Gabino Barrientos-Perez, was sentenced to 10 years and one month of imprisonment, to be followed by 5 years of supervised release. The defendants, who are Mexican nationals, transported Mexican females from Mexico to the United States illegally, forcing them to work as prostitutes in New York City and elsewhere. The defendants were arrested in Mexico in October 2011 and extradited to the United States in December 2012. Today’s sentences are the latest in the Office’s comprehensive anti-trafficking program, which has to date indicted over 55 defendants in sex trafficking cases and rescued over 100 victims, including over 17 minors.

The sentences were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and James T. Hayes, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York.

“The defendants preyed upon the young and vulnerable, abducting one of their victims at age 14, and forcing them into a life of sexual slavery in Mexico and the United States. Working together with our law enforcement partners at home and abroad, we stand firm in our resolve to vigorously investigate and prosecute those who would subject others to modern-day slavery,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “These sex traffickers have now been held to account for the horror and violence that they inflicted on their victims. We hope that these sentences bring some measure of closure to the victims as they attempt to heal from the mental and physical abuse inflicted by the defendants.” Ms. Lynch thanked the Mexican authorities and other entities that assisted with the extradition and successful prosecution of this case.

“The individuals sentenced today exploited and enslaved women for personal profit while terrifying and traumatizing them through rape, violence, and intimidation,” stated HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Hayes. “No prison sentence can ever do justice for the pain and suffering experienced by these victims, but knowing that justice has been served on their tormentors will hopefully allow for the beginning of a healing process that these women so justly deserve.”

The sex trafficking involved at least four victims, and the defendants used various methods to force these women and girls to work in prostitution, ranging from abduction, rape, assault and threats of violence, to psychological coercion. One minor victim, identified in court papers as Jane Doe 1, was primarily trafficked by the defendant Benito Lopez-Perez. Jane Doe 1 met Lopez-Perez in 2005 in Mexico when she was 14 years old. After attending a movie with a group that included Lopez-Perez, he took Jane Doe 1 to his family home and raped her. Lopez-Perez then forced Jane Doe 1 into prostitution, first in Mexico and later, after arranging to smuggle her across the border, in the United States, where Jose Gabino Barrientos-Perez also participated in the victim’s sex trafficking. Jane Doe 1 was required to service 10 to 40 clients per day, on threat of physical abuse, and was kept under the defendants’ control for five years until she escaped in 2010.

At age 14, the victim identified as Jane Doe 2 met the defendant Romero-Perez while she was living with her sister (also a victim and identified in court papers as Jane Doe 3), who was married to Jose Gabino Barrientos-Perez. Jane Doe 2 began a romantic relationship with Romero-Perez, who subsequently persuaded the victim to work as a prostitute to pay off a debt. Romero-Perez brought Jane Doe 2 to a bar where she was closely monitored to ensure she kept none of the money she earned. When she refused to work, or did not earn enough money, Romero-Perez beat her. In approximately October 2008, Romero-Perez and Lopez-Perez arranged to smuggle Jane Doe 2 into the United States where she was forced to work as a prostitute in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, servicing approximately 12 to 15 clients per day. While she was in the United States, Romero-Perez raped and beat Jane Doe 2 on several occasions.

Jane Doe 3 was primarily trafficked by her husband, the defendant Jose Gabino Barrientos-Perez. Approximately one year after the birth of their son, Barrientos-Perez persuaded Jane Doe 3 to work as a prostitute, telling her he needed the money pay off debts and to provide for their baby. Barrientos-Perez brought Jane Doe 3 to Tijuana and Mexico City to work in prostitution, beating her on several occasions in order to force her to work. In 2006, Barrientos-Perez arranged to smuggle Jane Doe 3 into the United States and ultimately to New York City to work as a prostitute under the defendant’s threats of violence. Jane Doe 3 paid Barrientos-Perez approximately $700-$1,000 per week from her prostitution earnings – when she paid less, the defendant threatened that he would not let her see her children.

Jane Doe 4 was trafficked by the defendant Romero-Perez beginning at the age of 20, after she was pressured into a romantic relationship with him. After approximately three months of working as a prostitute in Mexico, Jane Doe 4 was smuggled into the United States. Romero-Perez promised his victim that they would get jobs and have an apartment together, but after they arrived, Romero-Perez told her that she needed to prostitute herself to support them. Like the other victims, Jane Doe 4 gave the majority of the prostitution proceeds to Romero-Perez and his family members.

Since 2009, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security have collaborated with Mexican law enforcement counterparts in the Procuraduría General de la República (PGR), the Secretaría de Seguridad Pública (SSP), Procuraduría Social de Atención a las Víctimas de Delitos (PROVICTIMA), and non-governmental partners in the United States and Mexico in a Bilateral Human Trafficking Enforcement Initiative. Through this Initiative, the United States and Mexico have worked together to bring high-impact prosecutions under both U.S. and Mexican law to more effectively dismantle human trafficking networks operating across the U.S.-Mexico border, prosecute human traffickers, rescue human trafficking victims, and reunite victims with their families. Other significant bilateral cases have been prosecuted in Atlanta, Georgia, and Miami, Florida.

United States Attorney Lynch extended her grateful appreciation to the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs for its assistance in obtaining the extraditions of the defendants, and the New York City Police Department for its longstanding partnership in the Office’s coordinated anti-trafficking program. Ms. Lynch also thanked the many victim service providers and advocates for their dedicated efforts to restore and improve the lives of survivors of trafficking, in particular, Safe Horizon; Sanctuary for Families; Restore NYC; LifeWay Network; the New York City Bar Justice Center; The Legal Aid Society, Civil Division (Bronx); My Sister’s Place; the Mt. Sinai Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Program; Bellevue Hospital Center, and the law firms of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP.

The sentences were imposed by Chief United States District Judge Carol B. Amon.

The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Taryn A. Merkl, Elizabeth Geddes, and Erik Paulsen.

The Defendants:

Name: BENITO LOPEZ-PEREZ

Age: 35

Name: ANASTASIO ROMERO-PEREZ

Age: 40

Name: JOSE GABINO BARRIENTOS-PEREZ

Age: 52

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. CR-11-199 (CBA)


 

 

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