April 18, 2011
LAST DEFENDANT CHARGED AS A RESULT OF HTRA INVESTIGATION OF LOCAL BAR SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR DRUG DEALING
(HOUSTON) - The last defendant charged as a result of an human trafficking investigation at a Houston area bar has been sentenced to prison for drug trafficking, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
An investigation was conducted by members of the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance (HTRA) into reports that human trafficking involving prostitution and drug dealing were occurring at “La Potra” Bar on the 6100 block of Airline in Houston. As a result, four Honduran nationals, Carlos Cabrera, 46, Wilson Sauzo, 29, Luis Urbina, 28, and Christian Javier Guzman-Flores, 21, were arrested in October 2009 and charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. A fifth defendant, Jose Martin Zavala-Acosta, 27, from Mexico, was charged with alien smuggling. Sauzo, Urbina, Guzman-Flores and Zavala-Acosta each pleaded guilty to the offense charged. Cabrera, however, committed suicide while in federal custody pending federal charges for human trafficking.
Sauzo, the last of the four defendants charged and convicted as a result of the HTRA investigation into “La Potra” bar was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore to 37 months in federal prison without parole. Judge Gilmore previously sentenced Urbina to 14 months imprisonment and Guzman-Flores to 37 months in federal prison for their drug dealing. Zavala-Acosta was sentence by U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt to 24 months in federal prison without parole for alien smuggling. Sauzo, Urbina and Guzman-Flores pleaded guilty to the drug charges in April 2010, while Zavala-Acosta pleaded guilty to alien smuggling in February 2010.
“Often, victims of human trafficking who are forced into prostitution or forced labor are also forced to endure living and working among alien smugglers and drug dealers,” said U.S. Attorney Moreno. “This case, in which five defendants were arrested for various criminal offenses, illustrates the dark world within which the human trafficking victims are forced to exist until rescued or until they can escape, but it also demonstrates our continued commitment to rescue the victims and to prosecute not only the human trafficker but other offenders as well.”
The investigation of the “La Potra” bar leading to the various charges against these defendants was conducted by the following HTRA member agencies: Houston Police Department, Harris County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI. Assistant United States Attorneys Ruben R. Perez and Joe Magliolo prosecuted the case.
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