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June 8, 2009

THREE CHARGED WITH SMUGGLING A MINOR TO ENGAGE IN COMMERICAL SEX ACTS

(HOUSTON) – Three Mexican nationals have been indicted by a Houston grand jury for conspiring to engage in sex trafficking of a minor, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.

Jorge Texis-Montano, 24, Jorge Aguila-Cuapio, 19, and Sonia Tecuapacho, 24, all Mexican Nationals illegally in the United States, have been charged in a one-count indictment returned by a Houston grand jury on Monday, June 8, 2009. The indictment accuses the defendants of conspiracy to cause the minor victim, also a Mexican national, to engage in a commercial sex act. Each is expected to appear in federal court for arraignment on the charges this week although no date has yet been set.

The three defendants were originally charged by criminal complaint filed on May 14, 2009, with transporting a juvenile undocumented alien. According allegations in the criminal complaint, on April 28, 2009, a friend of the juvenile’s mother contacted the Houston Police Department (HPD) to report that the juvenile - a 16-year-old girl from Mexico - had been smuggled into the United States and was being held against her will, physically abused and forced to work as a prostitute at several different Houston area bars including El Guerrero located on the 6400 block of Wallisville Road. The following day, agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) joined the investigation to assist in locating the minor. On May 4, 2009, upon receiving additional information from the family, HPD officers located the minor at an apartment complex on Broadway Street in Houston. ICE and FBI agents assisted with the investigation that ultimately lead to the filing of criminal charges against all three defendants.

Texis-Montano, Aguila-Cuapio and Tecuapacho were initially charged by state authorities, then transferred to federal custody in mid-May following the filing of the federal complaint. The defendants have remained in federal custody without bond pending further criminal proceedings per the order of a federal magistrate. They are expected to appear this week for arraignment on the charges. No date has been set as yet.

If convicted of the sex trafficking conspiracy charge, each defendant faces a maximum of life imprisonment in a federal penitentiary and a fine of up to $250,000.

The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by HPD, ICE and the FBI with the assistance of the Harris District Attorney’s Office, all members of the Houston Trafficking Rescue Alliance (HTRA). The HTRA was founded in August 2004 to bring together the expertise of federal, state and local law enforcement to target those engaged in human trafficking and through non-governmental service providers to provide support and services for their victims.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ruben R. Perez and Joe Magliolo of the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Texas.

 

 

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