Friday, May 16, 2008

Mexican National Pleads Guilty to Trafficking

From the Sun Sentinel:

FLORIDA, United States- A Mexican national has pleaded guilty to conspiring to smuggle Mexican women and girls into the United States and force them into prostitution, the United States Attorney's Office said Thursday.

Juan Luis Cadena-Sosa, 43, is one of 16 defendants charged in 1998 with smuggling the women and girls from Mexico to Florida and South Carolina. Cadena-Sosa remained a fugitive until November 2007, when he was extradited from Mexico to the United States. Nine of the defendants, including Cadena-Sosa, have now been convicted in federal court; one was convicted in state court and another was convicted on related charges in Mexico. A third defendant died while a fugitive. Three remain at large.

According to federal court documents, Cadena-Sosa, his brothers and a nephew operated a number of brothels, some with girls younger than 18, throughout South Florida. The women and girls were smuggled into the country primarily from Veracruz, Mexico, by Cadena-Sosa and his associates.

Once in the United States, the women and girls were informed that they owed a debt to the Cadena organization for bringing them here and that they would be required to repay the debt by working as prostitutes. Those that tried to escape were tracked down. The men used physical violence and threats to intimidate the women and girls, according to court records.

Cadena-Sosa, who pleaded guilty on Wednesday, will be sentenced on Aug. 20. He faces 15 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Prosecutions of human trafficking cases have increased seven-fold over the past seven fiscal years, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

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