Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Federal Agents Break Up Sex Ring; SEVERAL CITIES INVOLVED Some of the Prostitution Took Place in Jacksonville, Agents Say. SMUGGLING CHARGES the Women Reportedly Came to Florida from Central America

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Federal Agents Break Up Sex Ring; SEVERAL CITIES INVOLVED Some of the Prostitution Took Place in Jacksonville, Agents Say. SMUGGLING CHARGES the Women Reportedly Came to Florida from Central America

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL PINKHAM

Federal authorities have busted a statewide sex trafficking ring in which Central American women said they were smuggled into Florida and forced into prostitution in Jacksonville and other cities.

FBI and immigration agents made four arrests last week, including a man accused of heading the Jacksonville end of the ring, and two Colombian immigrants who agents said drove and housed women in Jacksonville. They and a man identified as the Tampa head of the organization are charged in Tallahassee with importing, transporting and harboring illegal aliens for prostitution and financial gain.

The women were brought to Florida under the guise of getting work as maids or bartenders but were forced into prostitution at apartment complexes in Jacksonville, Tampa, Tallahassee and Orlando, according to an arrest affidavit signed by Senior Special Agent William Maxey of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

An indictment unsealed last week in Tallahassee said the women were rotated from city to city and required to have multiple sex acts with multiple partners every day. Federal prosecutors said the men promoted the prostitution ring with business cards and cell phones and kept the $30 per sex act the women were told to charge. The women were picked up in Texas, the indictment says.

A fifth man, also from Colombia, was convicted by a Tallahassee jury in May of seven related counts. Jorge Wilmar Melchor is awaiting sentencing Oct. 15.

Melchor was arrested in 2006 after two Guatemalan women fled his Tallahassee home and told a neighbor they were being forced to work as prostitutes. The women testified they were taken to apartment complexes populated by alien workers, said Melchor's attorney, Armando Garcia.

"My understanding of how this works is they service strictly the Latin community," Garcia said Tuesday. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.