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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 21, 2016

Another Sex Trafficker Convicted

HOUSTON – A 45-year-old Honduran woman has been convicted of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.

Maria E. Gonzales Munoz aka “Merci,” 45, co-owned numerous brothels, including Cocodrillos, that posed as bars in and around the Houston area which facilitated commercial sex.

The undercover operation revealed that Munoz offered a female to as a prostitute at Cocodrillos. Even though the young female reported to be underage and had illegally entered the United States, Munoz still said she could work at Cocodrillos and even offered to provide living arrangements at her residence. Gonzales also informed the female that she could help her appear older through use of make-up and help her obtain a fraudulent identification card.

Gonzales will remain in custody pending sentencing, set for  April 7, 2016, before U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas. At that time, she faces up to life in prison. 

The investigation leading to the filing of criminal charges was the result of an investigation conducted by members of the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance (HTRA) in Houston, which includes the FBI, Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Immigration and Customs-Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations, Texas Alcoholic and Beverage Commission, Department of State, Texas Department of Public Safety and the Houston Police Department. 

Assistant United States Attorney Ruben R. Perez is prosecuting the case.

Topic: 
Human Trafficking
Updated January 21, 2016