A Florida woman pleaded guilty on March 28 to smuggling a Mexican woman into the U.S. to use her as a surrogate and imprisoning her in an apartment for more than two years while abusing and attempting to impregnate her.
The victim, who is in her mid-20s and known only by her initials Y. L. for privacy reasons, said that 47-year-old Esthela Clark of Jacksonville, Florida, promised to pay her to for a medically-supervised surrogacy, according to WJAX. Instead, Clark paid so-called "coyotes" $3,000 to illegally transport Y. L. across the border.
Clark faced charges for human trafficking, though prosecutors dropped them as part of a plea deal.
"We stand by those allegations," U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman William Daniels said, according to WJAX.
Once Y. L. arrived in the U.S., Clark took Y. L.'s identification documents, isolated her in an apartment through force and threatening harm to her and her family. She reportedly injected the victim with a household syringe full of semen Clark had collected from boyfriend Ronald Castellanos' used condoms. She also injected Y. L. with semen from other men, according to court documents on Justice.gov. That was not working, so Clark forced Y. L. to have sex with two "American" complete strangers, saying that a "gringo" baby would be worth more money, Y. L. said.
Clark determined that Y. L. was not conceiving because she was "too fat," so she began feeding her nothing but canned beans, causing the victim to lose 65 pounds while imprisoned by Clark. She also beat Y. L. and forced her to take medication sent from a gynecologist in Mexico and did not allow her to wash her clothes for weeks.
The Florida woman also reportedly forced Y. L. to clean the house and work at nearby establishments, using false work authorization documents provided by Clark, who pocketed all the money Y. L. earned.
While forcing Y. L. to clean the house, Clark once reportedly became angry that Y. L. used too much bleach and made her sleep on the kitchen floor in a puddle of it as punishment.
Clark, who has adult children of her own, could face federal prison time of up to 20 years, according WJAX. She was arrested in 2015 after a nearby churchgoer learned what was happening to the victim, removed her from the situation and called police regarding a possible human trafficking situation.