Man Indicted on Kidnapping, Retaliating Against A Witness, And Transporting and Coercing An Individual for Prostitution Charges
PANAMA CITY, FLORIDA – A Federal Grand Jury has returned an indictment charging Jacobo Feliciano-Francisco, a/k/a “Uriel Castillo-Ochoa”, a/k/a “Kiko”, age 30, with federal criminal violations related to kidnapping, retaliating against a witness, and transporting an individual in interstate commerce for prostitution. The Indictment was announced today by Pamela C. Marsh, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
The indictment alleges that between 2006 and 2011, numerous organized individuals created a network of brothels and prostitution delivery services in Tennessee and Kentucky, using undocumented aliens from Spanish-speaking countries. F.T., a female individual, cooperated with the FBI in its investigation into these individuals after she was forced and coerced into working as a prostitute for approximately three years. Due to her cooperation, a total of 13 individuals were convicted in Tennessee and Kentucky of various federal sex-trafficking and prostitution criminal charges. In the fall of 2012, following her cooperation with law enforcement, F.T. was approached at her Tennessee residence by another individual and confronted about her cooperation. Out of concern for the safety of F.T. and her family, she and her family were relocated to Panama City Beach, Florida.
Following F.T.’s relocation, Feliciano-Francisco and others conspired to kidnap and did kidnap F.T. with the intent to transport her from Florida to Louisiana where she would be forced to work as a prostitute in retaliation for her prior cooperation with law enforcement. During her kidnapping, F.T. was sexually assaulted by Feliciano-Francisco, and he and others repeatedly threatened the physical safety of both her and her family. Feliciano-Francisco transported F.T. to a residence in Mississippi where she was confined until another conspirator arrived to pick her up and transport her to Louisiana.
Counts One and Two of the indictment charge Feliciano-Francisco with Conspiracy to Kidnap and Kidnapping. If convicted on those counts, Feliciano-Francisco faces a term of imprisonment of up to life, supervised release of up to five (5) years, a fine of up to $250,000, and a $100 special monetary assessment. Counts Three, Four, and Five of the indictment charge Feliciano-Francisco with Retaliation against a Witness, Transportation of an Individual in Interstate Commerce for Prostitution, and Coercion into Prostitution, respectively. If convicted on Counts Three and Five of his indictment, Feliciano-Francisco faces a term of imprisonment of not more than twenty (20) years. If convicted on Count Four of his indictment, Feliciano-Francisco faces a term of imprisonment of not more than ten (10) years. Additionally, as to each of counts Three, Four, and Five, Feliciano-Francisco faces the imposition of a fine of up to $250,000, supervised release of up to 3 years, and a $100 special monetary assessment.
Feliciano-Francisco appeared today for his initial appearance and arraignment in United States District Court in Panama City, Florida. Feliciano-Francisco pled not guilty to the charges and his trial was scheduled for December 9, 2013 before United States District Judge Richard Smoak.
The indictment results from an investigation by agents of the FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kathryn Risinger.
An indictment is merely an allegation by a grand jury that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.