BALTIMORE - Juan Carlos Escobar Sanchez, age 23, a citizen of El Salvador residing in Reisterstown, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to coercion and enticement of an alien to cross state lines and engage in prostitution. Sanchez was sentenced to serve 10 months in prison and Sanchez consented to voluntary deportation from the United States after he serves his sentence. The conviction and sentence were a result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
"Protecting our communities from the threats and vulnerabilities posed by criminal organizations engaged in human trafficking is a top priority for ICE," said Scot R. Rittenberg, acting special agent in charge for ICE in Baltimore. "As a member of the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, ICE will work with our law enforcement partners to investigate human trafficking. Equally as important is our commitment to rescuing and protecting victims of trafficking so we can put an end to this reprehensible form of modern day slavery."
According to the plea agreement, on October 20, 2008, an adult female traveled from New York to Maryland after Escobar Sanchez agreed to provide housing and transportation and schedule customers in exchange for a share of her prostitution earnings. On October 23, 2008, an undercover investigator contacted Escobar Sanchez and arranged to pay for a female prostitute. Within a short time, Sanchez drove to the agreed location with the woman, who was not a U.S. citizen. Escobar Sanchez and the woman were arrested and investigators recovered condoms, lubrication, five cellular telephones (including the cell phone called by the undercover investigator) and $816 from Escobar Sanchez and his vehicle.
The case was investigated by the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force (MHTTF), formed in 2007. Members include federal, state and local law enforcement, as well as victim service providers and local community members. The task force was created to discover and rescue victims of human trafficking while identifying and prosecuting offenders. The Baltimore County Police Department also participated in the investigation.
In addition to Escobar Sanchez, two recent federal cases investigated by the MHTTF include: Lloyd Mack Royal III, a/k/a "Blyss," a/k/a "B," a/k/a "Furious," age 28, and Angela Samantha Bentolila, age 26, who were charged with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking in a scheme to prostitute three minor females; and Deborah Gail Frock, age 39, of Westminster, Maryland, who was charged with sexually exploiting a minor to produce child pornography.
In conjunction with the MHTTF, ICE has sponsored the deputation of local police officers from the Anne Arundel County Police Department and the Frederick County Sheriff's Office to assist with human trafficking investigations.