NEW YORK — A member of a family-based sex trafficking ring was sentenced to 15 years in prison Wednesday in Brooklyn following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Samuel Granados-Hernandez, 33, of Mexico, is the sixth member of the Granados family to be prosecuted and convicted in the United States in connection to the HSI New York sex trafficking investigation.
"This defendant took advantage of young women who were seeking a better life, tricking them into trusting him and then forcing them into sexual slavery. He also used violence to achieve his ends, including forcing one of his victims to have an abortion when she became pregnant," stated United States Attorney Loretta E. Lynch. "This sentence sends a message to would-be traffickers that we will not tolerate trafficking of women and girls, and we stand firm in our commitment to eradicate human trafficking." Ms. Lynch extended her grateful appreciation to the organizations that provided services and advocacy to the victims in this case, including Sanctuary for Families, Safe Horizon, My Sister's Place, and the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson.
On July 24, 2012, Granados-Hernandez pleaded guilty to a superseding information charging that between October 2000 and April 2011, he smuggled three victims from Mexico illegally into the United States and forced each of them to engage in prostitution. Granados-Hernandez, who kept the prostitution proceeds earned by the victims, engaged in a pattern of abuse for over a decade.
According to court documents, Granados-Hernandez smuggled each of the victims with the intent to force then into prostitution. For example, soon after he smuggled the victim identified as Jane Doe #6 to New York from Mexico in early 2010, Granados-Hernandez insisted that she work as a prostitute. When she refused, Granados-Hernandez threatened her mother, who was in Mexico. As a result of continued threats, Jane Doe #6 worked for the Granados-Hernandez in multiple states through the summer of 2010.
Similarly, in 2010, Granados-Hernandez smuggled the victim identified as Jane Doe #7 into the United States under the guise of a promise of a better life. After their arrival to New York, Granados-Hernandez told her that because of a debt owed to the smugglers, she had to work as a prostitute. Shortly after she began working as a prostitute, Jane Doe #7 became pregnant. Granados-Hernandez became violent, including choking and hitting her, and forced her to have an abortion.
In May 2010, Granados-Hernandez recruited Jane Doe #8 and smuggled her into the United States shortly thereafter. Similar to his other victims, she was forced into prostitution and worked for the Granados-Hernandez as a prostitute in New York, Maryland and Virginia until January 2011.
At the sentencing, a letter written by a fourth victim of Granados-Hernandez was read to the Court. This victim described how Granados-Hernandez was "physically, verbally and sexually abusive," and how Granados- Hernandez "took away my youth, my innocence and my ability to trust and caused me an immeasurable amount of pain."
Granados-Hernandez's brother Eleuterio Granados-Hernandez and his cousin, Angel Cortez-Granados, also smuggled young women from Mexico illegally into the United States, forced them to work as prostitutes in New York City and elsewhere, and collected profits from their activities. Both pleaded guilty to sex trafficking. In September 2013, Cortez-Granados was sentenced to 15 years in prison. In March 2014, Eleuterio Granados-Hernandez was sentenced to 22 years in prison.