Middlesex County, N.J., Couple Charged With Running Prostitution Business Which Employed Undocumented Aliens
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Brunswick, New Jersey, couple was arrested today and charged with harboring undocumented aliens to serve as prostitutes in a string of at least eight brothels scattered across the state, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Juan Fredy Hernandez-Zozaya, 36, and his wife, Elizabeth Rojas Rojas, 33, are charged by complaint with one count of harboring aliens for the purpose of prostitution, one count of harboring aliens for the purpose of financial gain and conspiracy to commit those offenses. The defendants are scheduled to make their initial court appearances this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Falk in Newark federal Court.
According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Since at least 2012, law enforcement has been investigating Hernandez-Zozaya and Rojas in connection with a chain of brothels in towns including New Brunswick, Trenton, Orange, Lakewood, Asbury Park and Bridgeton, New Jersey. The brothels were typically located in private residences, and undocumented aliens were employed as prostitutes.
Hernandez-Zozaya and Rojas were allegedly the leaders of the organization. Hernandez-Zozaya hired, fired and oversaw individuals who managed the daily activities at the brothels. Rojas organized, directed and scheduled prostitutes. The couple also employed and relied on a string of conspirators to help manage the brothels. The investigation revealed that the prostitutes sometimes traveled across state lines to work and that Hernandez-Zozaya and Rojas both collected the proceeds from the prostitution activities.
Both of the harboring counts with which the defendants are charged carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The conspiracy count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew M. McLees, with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sharon Ashe of the office’s Narcotics Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.