Williamsburg Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering and Conspiracy Involving Labor Trafficking
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – An El Salvadoran man who is in the United States illegally was sentenced today to over two years in prison for running an illegal commercial sex business that catered to the Hispanic community in Northern Virginia.
“Bonilla-Hernandez profited from the sexual exploitation of women who found themselves in difficult and vulnerable places,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “The tears, pain, and mental anguish expressed by the victims in this case is heartbreaking. Additionally, this case is yet another example of an individual who is here in the United States illegally and committing serious crimes. Human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of individuals remains a priority of this office and we will continue to investigate and prosecute these serious crimes that inflict mental, emotional, and physical harm on the victims involved.”
According to court documents, over the past three years, Luis Bonilla-Hernandez, 33, and co-conspirator, Eliazar Duran Mota, 23, of Herndon, ran the illegal business out of their homes in Sterling and Herndon. The women who were exploited were Hispanic, spoke little-to-no English, and found themselves struggling financially in the United States. Bonilla-Hernandez and Duran Mota took advantage of the difficult situations the victims had found themselves in and sought to sexually exploit them for financial profit.
Each week, Bonilla-Hernandez and Duran Mota would obtain a woman to work for a week at a time. During interviews with the women they described their bodies being sore and exhausted from the 10 to 20 commercial sex encounters they had per day. They described enduring verbal abuse and threats to their physical safety from the customers. They discussed being required to turn all of their money over to Bonilla-Hernandez and Duran Mota, and continuing to work out of fear that they would not get their portion of the money at the end of the week. After a woman worked for a week, Bonilla-Hernandez and Duran Mota would switch out their “inventory” by obtaining a new woman from Union Station to work throughout Northern Virginia.
When law enforcement executed a search warrant on Bonilla Hernandez’s house, they recovered evidence of the scheme and over $14,000 in cash.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Matthew J. DeSarno, Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office, Michael L. Chapman, Loudoun County Sheriff, and Colonel Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Fairfax County Chief of Police, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III. Assistant U.S. Attorney Maureen C. Cain prosecuted the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:19-cr-26.
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