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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Rhode Island

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Two Mass. Men Detained in R.I. on Sex Trafficking Charges

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Kedwin Vargas, 25, and Rene A. Laureano, 30, of Roxbury, Mass., have been ordered detained in federal custody on federal criminal complaints charging them with conspiracy to transport a minor interstate for prostitution and transporting a minor interstate for prostitution.

According to court documents, it is alleged that information about the trafficking of a minor female from Boston to Rhode Island for the purpose of prostitution by Vargas and Laureano came to the attention of law enforcement after an East Greenwich resident contacted Rhode Island State Police alleging that he was being extorted by a Massachusetts resident in exchange for not providing information to his wife about sexual encounters with the minor female in exchange for payment.

Vargas was arrested on May 19, 2016, and ordered detained by Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond. Laureano was arrested on Monday and was ordered detained by Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond.

The arrest and detention of Vargas and Laureano is announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha, Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police, and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Office of the FBI.

According to court documents and information presented to the court, in March 2016, an East Greenwich resident contacted Rhode Island State Police and alleged that Vargas was attempting to extort him by threatening to provide a video and audio recording to his family which contained information regarding sexual encounters he had with a minor female in exchange for payment. An investigation by Rhode Island State Police and the FBI revealed numerous text messages and cell phone conversations between Vargas and others with the East Greenwich resident, in which it is alleged that Vargas is identified as the person allegedly attempting to extort cash from the East Greenwich resident.

According to court documents, it is alleged that the investigation revealed that more than a year ago, Vargas began posting ads on backpage.com offering the minor female for prostitution. It is alleged that in many instances, Laureano would drive the female to meet with customers, including the East Greenwich resident. It is alleged in court documents that the East Greenwich resident admitted to investigators that he had met with and had sexual contact with the female on numerous occasions in several different locations in Rhode Island in exchange for cash.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Ferland.

The Warwick, R.I., and Boston Police Departments assisted in the investigation of this matter.

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Contact:

Jim Martin (401) 709-5357

email: USARI.Media@usdoj.gov

on Twitter @USAO_RI

 

 

16-50
Topic: 
Human Trafficking
Updated May 26, 2016