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Posted on: Saturday, October 12, 2013
14 Charged With Running International Sex Trafficking Ring
   
 
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Alfonzo Juarez
Alfonzo Juarez

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FBI HOUSTON PRESS OFFICE

October 11, 2013 (713) 936-7638

www.fbi.gov

TWELVE VICTIMS RECOVERED - INCLUDING FIVE MINORS

14 CHARGED WITH RUNNING AN INTERNATIONAL SEX-TRAFFICKING RING

FBI encourages additional victims to come forward, and seeks public’s help!

HOUSTON, TEXAS – Agents and officers of Houston’s Human Trafficking Task Force (HTTF) arrested six men and seven women in the Houston area for operating an international sex-trafficking organization. They have been charged with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The investigation revealed the defendants owned, controlled, participated in, and operated bars/brothels where young undocumented Mexican women and girls were forced, threatened, or coerced to engage in prostitution. Twelve women, including five minors, have been safely recovered during the course of the investigation. The FBI and its law enforcement partners are encouraging additional women and minors to come forward, and asking anyone with information about human trafficking to call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 911.

The indictments and arrests are the result of one of the largest Houston area sex-trafficking investigations conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Harris County Sheriff=s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, the Department of Labor, Texas Department of Public Safety, and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, all members of the HTTF. Additional assistance was provided by the Houston Police Department.

The Conspiracy

The investigation has revealed the conspiracy operated beginning in the summer of 1999 through the present. The defendants used force and threats of force to compel and maintain the service of the women and girls. It was a part of the conspiracy that the defendants relied on “padrotes” or pimps to supply women and girls for their brothel. The defendants profited from the entrance fees, drink sales and by charging $20.00 for providing a room for the sex act as well as condoms. The amount of money charged for a commercial sex act varied from $65.00 for 15 minutes up to $500.00 per hour for minors. The $20.00 fee for the condoms and use of the rooms totaled $1,265,820.00 in such charges from February 15, 2012 through August 26, 2013. The money that was paid to the women and girls for commercial sex was taken from them by the individual “padrotes” or pimps at the end of each day.

Two Houston area bars are also named in the indictment: La Feria, located at 5612 Telephone Road, Houston, Texas; and Las Palmas II, located at 5618 Telephone Road, Houston, Texas. Las Palmas II and La Feria operated as bars/brothels, and were provided as the locations for “padrotes” or pimps to bring women and girls to solicit commercial sex acts from customers. When La Feria closed at 2:00 a.m. each day, Las Palmas II was open for business as an “after-hours” bar/brothel. Many “padrotes” or pimps took their women to other brothels, but would later take them to Las Palmas II to have them working as prostitutes at Las Palmas II until it closed.

Victims

During the course of the investigation, seven adult women and five minors under the age of eighteen were recovered safely by law enforcement officers. The investigation revealed these undocumented women and girls were compelled into performing commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud, coercion, and a combination of such means, including the use of locked rooms to maintain control over the young women and girls. The force included the use of violence to punish and control the young women and girls. All of the young women and girls are now being assisted by non-governmental organizations who are victim service providers.

The Charges

The charges include conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, conspiracy to commit alien smuggling, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Some of the persons arrested are charged with various components of these overall objectives, and some are charged with participating in all of them. Following their arrests, the defendants were placed in federal custody and will remain in federal custody, without bond, pending a detention hearing.

Fugitives

Alfonso Diaz-Juarez, aka Poncho, aka El Greñas, is a 45 year old Mexican citizen. Investigators believe he may still be located in the Houston area, or traveling to Mexico. Crime Stoppers of Houston will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the location and arrest of Diaz-Juarez. If you have information about Diaz-Juarez, please call the Houston office of the FBI at 713-693-5000, or the Crime Stoppers tip-line at 713-222-TIPS (8477).

As a public service to the community, Clear Channel Outdoor has donated space and time on their digital billboards throughout the area to publicize fugitive Alfonso Diaz-Juarez, and advertise the reward.

Persons Arrested

HORTENCIA MEDELES-ARGUELLO – aka Raquel Medeles Garcia, aka Tencha

Citizenship: United States

Age: 66

DELIA DIAZ

Citizenship: United States

Age: 49

JOSE L. URAGA – aka Wicho

Citizenship: Mexico

Age: 34

JORGE ANTONIO TELOXA-BARBOSA – aka Eli

Citizenship: Mexico

Age: 28

EDUARDO GUZMAN GONZALES – aka Miguel Rojas, aka El Pantera

Citizenship: Mexico

Age: 30

ALBERTO MENDEZ FLORES – aka Ardilla

Citizenship: Mexico

Age: Unverified

GUADALUPE VALDEZ LUGO – aka Lupe

Citizenship: United States

Age: 55

LILIA MEDELES CERDA – aka Lilly

Citizenship: United States

Age: 64

ABEL MEDELES – aka Chito

Citizenship: United States

Age: 64

ODELIA HERNANDEZ

Citizenship: United States

Age: 45

TALAT CRIPPIN – aka Chacho

Citizenship: United States

Age: 25

DIANA MEDELES GARCIA – aka Diana Garcia Marquez

Citizenship: United States

Age: 48

GRACIELA MEDELES OCHOA

Citizenship: United States

Age: 35

Fugitive

ALFONSO DIAZ-JUAREZ – aka Poncho, aka El Greñas

Citizenship: Mexico

Age: 45

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