Human trafficking fugitive on ICE's top 10 list extradited to US from Mexico
NEW YORK — One of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) 10 most wanted human trafficking fugitives was extradited Friday to face criminal charges for sex trafficking. This is subsequent to an initial arrest Sept. 2016 in Mexico, following a joint investigation between ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Mexico City, HSI New York and the Mexican Federal Police.
Raul Granados-Rendon, 30, was extradited to the United States on Jan. 27 and was arraigned Saturday at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. Granados-Rendon faces a 21-count indictment charging him with racketeering and racketeering conspiracy involving predicate acts of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion; sex trafficking of minors; interstate prostitution; alien smuggling and related offenses.
“This extradition, the latest chapter in our multi-year case against the Granados sex trafficking organization, again demonstrates our resolve to seek justice for victims of modern day slavery. We will not rest until those who seek to profit from the forced slavery of others are brought to justice,” stated Robert L Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
As set forth in extradition affidavits and other court papers, between October 1998 and June 2011, members of the Granados sex trafficking organization, including Raul Granados-Rendon and others, illegally smuggled young women into the United States where they were forced to work as prostitutes in New York City and elsewhere in the United States. The organization collected profits from the victims’ activities. When victims refused to work or resisted members of the organization beat and sexually assaulted them, and threatened the victims’ family members in Mexico, including the victims’ children.
HSI special agents have identified and rescued over 20 additional victims, all Mexican nationals, and arrested over a dozen additional traffickers or smugglers, all members or associates of the Granados family. Several victims were sexually assaulted by their traffickers, while others were physically assaulted. All the victims said the traffickers threatened to harm their family members.
To date, 13 members of the Granados organization have been indicted in the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) on sex trafficking charges. Raul Granados-Rendon was the last fugitive to be arrested and extradited to face the charges.
Since 2009, the Department of Justice and HSI have collaborated with Mexican law enforcement counterparts in a Bilateral Human Trafficking Enforcement Initiative aimed at strengthening high-impact prosecutions under both U.S. and Mexican law. The initiative is aimed at dismantling human trafficking networks operating across the U.S.-Mexico border, bringing human traffickers to justice, reuniting victims with their children and restoring the rights and dignity of human trafficking victims held under the trafficking networks’ control. These efforts have resulted in successful prosecutions in both Mexico and the United States, including U.S. federal prosecutions of more than 50 defendants in multiple cases in New York, Georgia, Florida, and Texas since 2009, and numerous Mexican federal and state prosecutions of associated sex traffickers. The extraditions in this case are the latest development in the EDNY’s comprehensive anti-trafficking program, which has to date indicted more than 70 defendants in sex trafficking cases and provided assistance to more than 135 victims, including 39 minors. In addition, through the EDNY’s anti-trafficking program, 18 children have been reunited with their victim-mothers.
The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. This case is being prosecuted by EDNY’s Civil Rights section.