U.S. law enforcement officials extradited four Mexican nationals to New York to face charges for alleged sex trafficking. The move follows an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations.
The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York filed a 23-count indictment against Efrain Granados-Corona, aka “Chavito,” aka “Cepillo,” Emilio Rojas-Romero, Alan Romero-Granados, aka “El Flaco,” and Pedro Rojas-Romero, are charged together with Raul Romero-Granados, aka “Chicarcas,” aka “El Negro,” Isaac Lomeli-Rivera,” aka “Giro,” Julio Sainz-Flores, aka “Rogelio,” and Juan Romero-Granados, aka “Chegoya,” aka “El Guero,” according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. The Mexican government released two of the men to U.S. law enforcement on April 26. The two remaining suspects were transferred to U.S. custody last week.
The four Mexican nationals are accused of participating in an international sex trafficking organization, ICE officials stated. The organization allegedly exploited adult women and underage girls in the U.S. and Mexico between 2000 and 2016. The members of the “family business” allegedly used false promises, physical and sexual violence, threats of force, and coercion to make the women and girls participate in the commercial sex business.
Officials extradited one other suspect, Julio Sainz-Flores, in June 2017. One additional suspect awaits extradition in Mexico.
Officials arrested two other suspects, Raul Romero-Granados and Isaac Lomeli-Rivera, in the United States in October 2016.
Officials said the conspirators would entice women and girls in Mexico and move them to the U.S. Frequently, the conspirators would use “romance” to lure the victims away from their families and isolate them. They would then allegedly rape the women to make it difficult for them to return to their families because of the stigma of rape in their culture, officials stated.
Once in the U.S., the conspirators would allegedly lock the victims in apartments and leave them without food. They would also reportedly carry out acts of sexual violence. The conspirators would tell the victims they owed large sums of money for bringing them to the U.S. and housing–forcing them into prostitution in order to repay the debts.
Often, the grooming into prostitution would begin in Mexico where the victims were allegedly forced to service between 20 to 40 customers per day, officials stated. The contacts would allegedly pay $30-35 for 15 minutes of activity. Half of the monies would go to the driver who would “deliver” them to the customer. The women would then be forced to turn over all of the remaining proceeds to the conspirators, according to prosecutors.
The conspirators would wire the proceeds to their own family members in Mexico as a means of support, the indictment states.
“Sex trafficking is a heinous crime that violates both the rule of law and the most basic standards of human dignity,” US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey S. Berman said in a written statement. “These defendants allegedly deprived women and girls of their freedom and forced them into prostitution against their will. The scope of devastation these defendants allegedly inflicted on countless victims is beyond comprehension. But now they face significant criminal charges in an American court and will have to answer for their allegedly [reprehensible] actions. Our office is dedicated to combating this demoralizing crime and helping survivors reclaim their lives.”