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Human Smuggling/Trafficking
10/29/2009

Atlanta man pleads guilty to federal sex trafficking and Mann Act charges

ATLANTA - A 28-year-old Mexican national pleaded guilty today in federal district court to charges of conspiracy to illegally transport women from Mexico into the United States for purposes of prostitution and to engage in illicit sex trafficking, following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) joint investigation.

According to information presented in court, Miguel Rugerio admitted in his plea that from July 2006 to August 2008, he conspired with others to use force, fraud and coercion to cause five victims to come to the Atlanta area from Mexico and to engage them in prostitution for the financial benefit of the members of the alleged conspiracy. He further admitted to transporting a victim to states outside of Georgia, including Alabama and Florida, to engage her in prostitution.

Rugerio used false promises of better lives and romantic relationships to lure young, impoverished Mexican women to the United States, knowing that he would force the victims to engage in prostitution upon their arrival. He required his victims to engage in commercial sex with many men per night, seven days a week. Rugerio was indicted on the charges on Aug, 12, 2008.

"This case is a perfect example of the outstanding cooperation between ICE and our sister law enforcement agencies. Because of positive interagency cooperation, human trafficking and smuggling criminal organizations are discovering how difficult it is for them to hide their illegal activities from authorities," said Kenneth Smith, special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations in Atlanta. "We are dedicated to identifying and dismantling these types of illicit operations wherever and whenever we find them."

Rugerio faces a sentence of five years in prison. He remains in custody pending his sentencing which is scheduled for Jan. 27, 2010, before U. S. District Judge Clarence Cooper.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Moultrie, Jr., and Trial Attorney Karima Maloney.