This was not your typical family business: two Mexican brothers face trial in Brooklyn on charges they operated a sex-trafficking ring that smuggled women and girls into the US to work as prostitutes.
Jose Osvaldo Melendez-Rojas,42, and Rosalio “el Guacho” Melendez-Rojas, 37, were arraigned Friday in Brooklyn Federal Court on charges of sex trafficking and money laundering, prosecutors said.
The brothers were flown to New York from Mexico on Thursday. They were arrested in Mexico in February in a joint investigation by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Mexican federal police.
The 18-count indictment against the brothers also includes charges of trafficking minors, interstate prostitution and alien smuggling.
“These brothers were flown thousands of miles to face charges for their role in the ‘family business ‘ of exploiting and trafficking young women for profit, using intimidation and abuse to force their victims to participate in sexual acts against their will,” said Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Angel Melendez.
“The number of times women were victimized to support their criminal empire is reprehensible,” Melendez said.
At least six women allegedly pimped out by the Melendez-Rojas ring are cooperating with the prosecution, authorities said.
The Melendez-Rojas brothers join three stateside defendants in the case. Francisco “el Mojarra” Melendez-Perez,24, Abel “La Borrega”” Romero, 32, and Fabian Reyes Rojas, 38 are also in federal custody for their alleged roles in the international prostitution trafficking ring.
“With this successful extradition, we demonstrate our resolve to prosecute those who profit from the forced sexual servitude of vulnerable women and girls such as the Melendez-Rojas sex-trafficking network,” said Richard Donoghue, U S Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Brooklyn federal prosecutors have won indictments against over 80 accused sex traffickers and assisted more than 150 victims, including 40 minors. Prosecutors have also sued for over $4 million in restitution for the victims, authorities said.
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