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Human Smuggling/Trafficking
05/30/2014

Co-leader of international sex trafficking organization sentenced to life in prison

NEW YORK — A Queens man was sentenced to life in prison in connection with his co-leadership of a long-running sex trafficking conspiracy that employed force, fraud and coercion to make young women work as prostitutes against their will. The life sentence stems from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Bonifacio Flores-Mendez, 34, was also ordered to forfeit approximately $1.7 million, and to pay $84,000 in restitution to a victim of his crime. His brother, Isaias Flores-Mendez, was also sentenced to life in prison for his co-leadership role in this conspiracy May 14.

According to the indictment, other documents filed in Manhattan federal court, and statements made at various proceedings in this case:

Since at least 2001, when he was first arrested for promoting prostitution, Bonifacio Flores-Mendez, a Mexican national, has been engaged in the business of sexually exploiting vulnerable women for his own financial gain.

Bonifacio Flores-Mendez played an active role in the trafficking of at least one young woman (Victim-1), who was forced to engage in prostitution against her will by Isaias Flores-Mendez. At the age of 17, Victim-1 was romanced by Isaias Flores-Mendez and lured to the United States with the promise of a better life for her and her baby. Bonifacio Flores-Mendez and Isaias Flores-Mendez arranged for Victim-1 to travel to New York, where she was met by Bonifacio Flores-Mendez. Once in New York, Bonifacio Flores-Mendez made Victim-1 sleep on a floor with her child without any blankets. Bonifacio Flores-Mendez later locked Victim-1 in a windowless basement and deprived her and her child of sufficient food. Victim-1 was then forced to work as a prostitute against her will.When Victim-1 attempted to resist, Isaias Flores-Mendez repeatedly beat and verbally abused her. After she escaped, Bonifacio Flores-Mendez and his brother continued to torment Victim-1, on one occasion trying to run her over with their car.

Bonifacio Flores-Mendez also caused at least one other woman (Victim-A) to work for him as a prostitute, and on at least one occasion, Bonifacio Flores-Mendez beat Victim-A.

In addition to his role in the direct sex trafficking of women by force, fraud, and coercion, Bonifacio Flores-Mendez, together with his brother Isaias Flores-Mendez, also owned and operated a sprawling network of brothels in and around New York City that sexually exploited at least five women per day, each of whom saw up to 20 customers per day.


Many of the victims of this sex trafficking-prostitution enterprise were forced to engage in prostitution against their will under abhorrent conditions.

The indictment filed on May 23, 2013, charged 17 defendants. Sixteen of those defendants, including Bonifacio Flores-Mendez, have pleaded guilty, and one has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement. The defendants who have pleaded to date have agreed to forfeit, in total, more than $1.7 million. The following defendants have pleaded guilty, and have been sentenced as described below:

  • Carlos Garcia-De La Rosa pleaded guilty to conspiring to engage in a sex trafficking-prostitution enterprise and possession of child pornography on Jan. 9, and was sentenced May 29 to 48 months in prison.
  • Pedro Degante-Galeno pleaded guilty to conspiring to engage in a sex trafficking-prostitution enterprise Nov. 13, 2013, and was sentenced May 16 to the statutory maximum term of 60 months in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release.
  • Isaias Flores-Mendez pleaded guilty to conspiring to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion Jan. 7, and was sentenced May 14 to life in prison.
  • Sergio Degante-Ortiz pleaded guilty to conspiring to engage in a sex trafficking-prostitution enterprise Jan. 6, and was sentenced May 8 to time served and one year of supervised release.
  • Valentin Jiamez-Dolores pleaded guilty to conspiring to engage in a sex trafficking-prostitution enterprise Dec. 10, 2013, and was sentenced April 25 to the statutory maximum term of 60 months in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release.
  • Mario Pedro Martinez-Barrera pleaded guilty to conspiring to engage in a sex trafficking-prostitution enterprise Dec.12, 2013, and was sentenced April 25 to 33 months in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release.
  • Javier Leon-Chavez pleaded guilty to conspiring to engage in a sex trafficking-prostitution enterprise Dec. 18, 2013, and was sentenced April 11 to 48 months in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release.
  • Alberto Jesus Martinez-Miranda pleaded guilty to conspiring to engage in a sex trafficking- prostitution enterprise Oct. 29, 2013, and was sentenced April 9 to the statutory maximum term of 60 months in prison and two years of supervised release.
  • Miguel Angel Che-Veliz pleaded guilty to obstructing justice Jan. 22, and was sentenced April 4 to time served.
  • Isidro Degante-Galeno pleaded guilty to conspiring to engage in a sex trafficking- prostitution enterprise Dec. 3, 2013, and was sentenced April 1 to the statutory maximum term of 60 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.
  • Alejandro Degante-Galeno pleaded guilty to conspiring to engage in a sex trafficking- prostitution enterprise Oct. 24, 2013, and was sentenced March 6 to the statutory maximum term of 60 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release.
  • Manuel Gomez-Batana pleaded guilty to conspiring to engage in a sex trafficking- prostitution enterprise Sept. 25, 2013, and was sentenced Feb. 20 to the statutory maximum term of 60 months in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release.
  • Margarito Degante pleaded guilty to conspiring to engage in a sex trafficking-prostitution enterprise Oct. 29, 2013, and was sentenced Feb. 14 to the statutory maximum term of 60 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release.
  • Marcos Mendez Perez pleaded guilty to conspiring to engage in a sex trafficking-prostitution enterprise Oct. 10, 2013, and was sentenced Jan. 31 to the statutory maximum term of 60 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.
  • Francisco Mendez Ramirez pleaded guilty to conspiring to engage in a sex trafficking-prostitution enterprise Oct. 21, 2013, and was sentenced Jan. 31 to the statutory maximum term of 60 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.