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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

2 Mexican nationals plead guilty to commercial human sex trafficking

MIAMI — Two Mexican nationals pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday to charges of conspiring to commit commercial sex trafficking of Mexican women, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

According to evidence presented in court, Israel Cortes-Morales, 31, and Alberto Cortes-Castro, 30, forced multiple Mexican women to engage in prostitution in the United States for the defendants' financial benefit between 1999 and 2010.

With false promises of a better life, legitimate employment, and marriage, the defendants lured victims from their homes in Mexico to the United States, knowing that they would actually force the women to be prostitutes here.

The victims were compelled, through threats, psychological coercion, and other means, to work within a prostitution circuit that spanned the East Coast of the United States, including Miami.

Sentencing for these defendants has been scheduled for Oct. 28.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Marlene Rodriguez and Roy Altman and Benjamin Hawk, trial attorney with the Department of Justice.