WASHINGTON – Consuelo Carreto Valencia, a member of the Carreto family sex trafficking ring that operated between Mexico and Queens, N.Y., was sentenced to 121 months in prison for benefitting financially from her participation in the organization, which transported young Mexican women to the United States and forced them into prostitution. The sentencing proceeding was held today before U.S. District Judge Frederic Block at the U.S. Courthouse in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The sentence was announced by Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice; Benton J. Campbell, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; and John Morton, Assistant Secretary, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security (ICE).
From 1991 through 2004, Carreto Valencia served as a manager in her family’s sex trafficking operation based in Tenancingo, Tlaxcala, Mexico. She and her sons, Josue Flores Carreto and Gerardo Flores Carreto, and others, recruited young, uneducated women and girls from impoverished areas of Mexico and used or approved of a combination of deception, fraud, threats and physical violence – including rape and coerced abortion – to force them to prostitute themselves in brothels throughout the New York City metropolitan area, including Queens and Brooklyn. Carreto Valencia and her family made hundreds of thousands of dollars in prostitution profits, while the victims, who had been separated from their families in Mexico, received next to nothing.
At her guilty plea hearing on July 22, 2008, Carreto Valencia admitted that while living in Mexico, she received wire transfers of money from New York, fully aware that they were the proceeds of acts of prostitution performed by women who had been recruited and smuggled into the United States by her sons and others. She also admitted that she knew that the young women had been forced into prostitution in the United States.
"The victims in this case were robbed of their freedom, their dignity and their human rights. This case should send a clear message to those who abuse the rights of innocent individuals for their own profit that the federal government will be there to bring the perpetrators to justice," said Assistant Attorney General Perez.
"It is unconscionable in this day and age that there are persons who would hold other human beings in conditions of servitude and force them into lives of prostitution in order to line their own pockets," stated U.S. Attorney Campbell. "As this case demonstrates, sex traffickers operating from abroad should be on notice that they will find no refuge from reach of United States law enforcement." Mr. Campbell extended his grateful appreciation to the agencies and individuals in the United States and abroad who assisted in the investigation.
"Even as Carreto Valencia heads to prison, there are still criminals coercing and trafficking young women and children into prostitution," said ICE Assistant Secretary Morton. "This case attests to the commitment of ICE and its law enforcement partners to insure that there is no safe haven for those who seek to endanger and dehumanize innocent women and children."
Previously, in April 2006, Josue Flores Carreto, Gerardo Flores Carreto and co-defendant Daniel Perez Alonso were sentenced to terms of 50, 50 and 25 years in prison, respectively, following their guilty pleas in April 2005. Carreto Valencia was extradited to the United States from Mexico in January 2007 to face the charges against her.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Monica E. Ryan and Hilary Axam, Acting Director of the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.
The case was investigated by Special Agents from the ICE New York Office with assistance provided by ICE Special Agents from the New Jersey and Mexico City offices; the New York City Police Department; the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons; officials at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City; and officials of the Mexican Prosecutor General of the Republic.