Illegal Immigrations Plead Guilty in Interstate Prostitution Ring
Contact Person: DeWayne Pearson (803) 929-3000
Columbia, SC - Bill Nettles, United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina announced today that Maria Garcia-Moreno, age 42, of Tamaulipas, Mexico, Ruben Cabanas-Torres, age 30 of Veracruz, Mexico, and Esteban Acosta-Munoz, age 51 of Honduras pleaded guilty to violating the Mann Act by transporting an individual across state lines for the purpose of having her engage in prostitution.
As part of the plea, Garcia-Moreno, Cabanas-Torres and Acosta-Munoz admitted that between January 2009 and July 23, 2012 they participated in a scheme to transport illegal immigrant females between Atlanta, Georgia and Aiken County, South Carolina to engage in prostitution with migrant workers. Sentencing has not yet been set.
“All too often we see the sorts of exploitation and abuse that have taken place in this case when people are treated as a commodity,” said Brock D. Nicholson, special agent in charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Atlanta. “While these guilty pleas will ensure the defendants will be held accountable for their criminal actions, we should also not forget the women who have been rescued from lives of misery as a result of this investigation.” Nicholson oversees HSI activities in Georgia and the Carolinas. U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles stated “The sexual exploitation of the most vulnerable in our society by others is wrong. Persons with information about adult or child exploitation should contact their local law enforcement office or the national human trafficking hotline at 1-888-373-7888.”
The maximum penalty the defendants could receive is 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. The case was investigated by agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney T. DeWayne Pearson of the Columbia office.