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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 12, 2016

Six Bronx Defendants Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With Sex Trafficking Offenses

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and William J. Bratton, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York (“NYPD”), announced the arrests of MARIA SOLY ALMONTE, a/k/a “Soly Almonte,” a/k/a “Soly La Fuerte,” a/k/a “SoSo,” a/k/a “SoSo Wavy,” a/k/a “Soly Montana,” DAWITT DYKES, a/k/a “Daweezy,” a/k/a “Dawezzy,” MARIA MAGDALENA ALMONTE, DARLENE DELEON, and GABRIELY M. JOSE, a/k/a “Gabriela Vuitton,” a/k/a “Gabby,” on charges of sex trafficking of minors, sex trafficking conspiracy, use of interstate commerce to promote illegal activity, enticement of a minor, and receipt and possession of child pornography.  The sixth defendant, VETTHYA ALCIUS, a/k/a “Theiya Cole,” remains at large.

All of the defendants arrested today will be presented today in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge James L. Cott.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:  “The defendants allegedly engaged in the sexual exploitation of minors as young as 13 years old.  Protecting children from the predatory conduct of adults who would sexually exploit them for profit is a critically important law enforcement mission to which our office and our law enforcement partners at the FBI and NYPD are committed.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “Human trafficking of minors can at times be overlooked by our society because some may believe the children involved have a choice.  But these children aren’t given a vote while the pimps peddle their bodies for money.  It’s a grotesque violation of the law that the FBI and our law enforcement partners won’t stop pursuing until every child is rescued.” 

Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said:  “The defendants trafficked kids for sex as young as the age of 13.  Today, those who, as alleged, took advantage of some of our society's youngest find themselves under arrest.  I commend the work of the NYPD investigators, FBI agents and prosecutors involved in this case who continue to work to protect this city’s children and bring to justice those who profit from the abuse of the city’s youngest and most vulnerable victims.”

According to the Complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court[1]:

Since at least 2015, MARIA SOLY ALMONTE, ALCIUS, DYKES, DELEON, and JOSE have helped operate a brothel in New York City, which trafficked minors as young as 13 years old.  The brothel operated at various locations throughout New York, including apartments in the Bronx and Harlem.  Several of the defendants, including MARIA SOLY ALMONTE, MARIA MAGDALENA ALMONTE, and DELEON resided at apartments used for the brothel.  

MARIA SOLY ALMONTE served as the brothel’s proprietor.  ALCIUS, MARIA MAGDALENA ALMONTE, DELEON, and JOSE all were sex workers at the brothel, and DYKES provided security.  The brothel’s sex workers were required to pay MARIA SOLY ALMONTE a fee for prostitution services they rendered at the brothel.  The brothel advertised its services on the internet via Backpage.com and communicated with clients by telephone. 

The NYPD arrested DYKES and ALCIUS in 2015 at one of the brothel locations at which minor sex trafficking victims had worked.  The Complaint refers to five minor victims, all of whom provided prostitution services at one or more of the brothel’s locations.  ALCIUS and JOSE communicated with several of the minor victims about the brothel’s activities through social media, including setting up “dates.” 

*                *                *

The charges in the Complaint against MARIA SOLY ALMONTE, 32, ALCIUS, 22, DYKES, 24, MARIA MAGDALENA ALMONTE, 51, DELEON, 29, and JOSE, 20, are included in the chart below.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Any individuals who believe they have information that may be relevant to the investigation should contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 1-212-384-1000 or https://tips.fbi.gov/.

Mr. Bharara thanked the FBI and NYPD for their outstanding investigative work in this matter.

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Dina McLeod and Stephanie Lake are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges and allegations contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

16-244                                                             ###

 

Count

Defendants

Charge

Mandatory Minimum Prison Term

Maximum Prison Term

One

MARIA SOLY ALMONTE, ALCIUS, DYKES, DELEON, and JOSE

Sex Trafficking Conspiracy

15 years

Life

Two

MARIA SOLY ALMONTE, ALCIUS, DYKES, DELEON, and JOSE

Sex Trafficking of a Minor

15 years

Life

Three

MARIA SOLY ALMONTE, ALCIUS, DYKES, MARIA MAGDALENA ALMONTE, DELEON, and JOSE

Use of Interstate Commerce to Promote Unlawful Activity

 

5 Years

Four

ALCIUS

Enticement of a Minor

10 years

Life

Five

ALCIUS

Receipt of Child Pornography

5 years

Life

Six

ALCIUS

Possession of Child Pornography

 

10 years

 

 

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

 

16-244
Updated September 12, 2016