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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Vermont man charged with conspiracy in prostitution scheme

BURLINGTON, Vt.- A Hyde Park, Vt., man has been charged with transporting women from New York to Vermont to engage in prostitution. The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Alejandro Enrique Young-Hernandez, also known as Alex Young, 53, appeared in federal court in Burlington to answer the charges accusing him of conspiracy to commit prostitution by transporting individuals across state lines to engage in prostitution. U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy has ordered that Young-Hernandez be released on conditions to await a probable cause hearing on July 18.

The criminal complaint alleges that Young-Hernandez met a Mexican male identified as Jose Tomas Flores-Rocha, 53, in the fall of 2010. Young-Hernandez allegedly agreed to provide Flores-Rocha, an illegal alien, with telephone numbers and addresses of Vermont farm workers interested in having a prostitute come to their respective farms.

Young-Hernandez and Flores-Rocha would communicate the arrangements via cell phone. According to investigators, Young-Hernandez also sent text messages of Vermont farm addresses to Flores-Rocha when farm workers requested a prostitute. Flores-Rocha would then travel from New York to Vermont with Hispanic females for the purpose of performing the prostitution services. He would wait inside the building while the women conducted sexual acts with the farm workers, then, according to charging documents, would charge the workers $60 for each sexual act.

Flores-Rocha was arrested near a farm in Vermont last March while traveling with Leticia Garcia-Flores, an illegal alien from Mexico. On June 14, 2011, Flores-Rocha pleaded guilty to a charge of transporting Leticia Garcia-Flores from New York to Vermont for the purpose of engaging in prostitution.

As part of his plea agreement, Flores-Rocha stipulated that he drove more than five women, including Garcia-Flores, from New York to Vermont to engage in prostitution. When he was arrested, agents seized a ledger providing farm addresses and points of contact at each farm, as well as the names of women who appeared to be providing prostitution services and the days of the weeks and numbers of individuals involved each day.

In the plea agreement, Flores-Rocha has agreed to serve 18 months in jail. He faces sentencing in October. If convicted, Young-Hernandez faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Ross.