Department of Justice SealDepartment of Justice
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
(202) 514-2007
TDD (202) 514-1888

Man Sentenced for Human Trafficking, Alien Smuggling Charges in Florida

WASHINGTON - Juan Luis Cadena-Sosa was sentenced today on federal civil rights violations for conspiring to smuggle Mexican women and girls into the United States and forcing them to engage in prostitution by means of intimidation, violence and threats of physical harm, announced Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and R. Alexander Acosta, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez sentenced Cadena-Sosa to 15 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release, and a special assessment of $200. He was further ordered to pay jointly with his co-defendants $964,175.60 in restitution to the victims.

"Juan Luis Cadena-Sosa was a member of a conspiracy that lured young women and girls from Mexico to the United States with false promises of a better life and then forced them into modern day-slavery in a network of brothels that spanned the East Coast," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Becker. "We thank the Mexican authorities for working with us to extradite him from Mexico to face justice in Florida, where the exploitation took place."

U.S. Attorney Acosta added, "These young victims came to the United States hoping for a better life; instead they found misery and despair as sex slaves in a Florida brothel. No prison sentence can repair the lasting emotional and physical scars left on these young victims, but today’s sentence of this long-time fugitive brings this tragic story closer to an end."

In 1998, 15 defendants were charged by superceding indictment in this matter. Cadena-Sosa remained a fugitive until extradited from Mexico to the United States in November 2007. Nine defendants, including Cadena-Sosa, have now been found guilty in U.S. federal court. One was convicted in Florida state court on charges arising from this criminal operation. Another was convicted on related charges in Mexico. A third died while a fugitive. Three defendants remain at large. Those convicted in U.S. federal court have received prison sentences ranging from 30 months to 15 years.

Human trafficking prosecutions are a top priority of the Department of Justice. Over the past seven years, the Civil Rights Division, in conjunction with the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, has increased by nearly seven-fold the number of human trafficking cases filed in court, compared to the previous seven years. In FY 2007, the Department obtained a record number of convictions in human trafficking prosecutions.

In announcing the sentence, Becker and Acosta commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the U.S. Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement; the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office; the Lake Worth Police Department; the West Palm Beach Police Department; the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office; the Fort Pierce Police Department; the Avon Park Police Department; the Boynton Beach Police Department and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office for their work in this cooperative investigation and prosecution.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Millien and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Jim Felte are prosecuting this case for the government.