Two Sentenced For Sex-Trafficking Ring
Recruited Customers With Fake Boot Business
HARRISONBURG — Two people were sentenced in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg on Wednesday for their involvement in a city sex-trafficking ring that used fictitious business cards to attract customers.
Yacaris Frias De Los Santos, 35, of Harrisburg, Pa., was sentenced to three years in federal prison, while Mario Ramirez-Larios, 45, of Harrisonburg, received 13 months behind bars for transporting women into prostitution.
According to court records, Elin Naun Coello-Ordonez, 32, a Honduras national in the U.S. illegally, led a multistate prostitution ring in which three others were charged, including De Los Santos and Ramirez-Larios.
One of those rings was in Harrisonburg.
According to court records, women used as prostitutes came from all over the United States, including Florida, New York and Virginia, and also from the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Honduras.
In De Los Santos’ case, she said customers were charged $30 for 15 minutes of sexual activity, and she split proceeds with the prostitute, the U.S. Attorney’s Office says.
The co-defendants recruited customers by issuing fake business cards, such as “Botas Finas Para Caballeros” (“Fine Boots for Males”), with their phone numbers on them.
“There is no evidence whatsoever, nor did the defendant claim, [that] she was employed selling boots,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office wrote in a statement of facts.
According to the statement of facts, Ramirez-Larios helped recruit women to work in brothels in Maryland, Pennsylvania and western Virginia. The brothels largely catered to Hispanics.
The investigation began in July 2011, when police responded to several 911 calls from a home at 601 N. Liberty St. in Harrisonburg. Police say a woman told them that Coello-Ordonez took her to work in brothels in Harrisonburg and Charlottesville, as well as in Harrisburg, Pa., Scranton, Pa., and Hyattsville, Md.
As part of a plea deal, a judge plans to sentence Coello-Ordonez to 10 years in prison on Oct. 15.
Coello-Ordonez already is serving a five-year prison term for entering the country illegally. Authorities indicted him on the prostitution charges after his conviction for illegal entry.
Upon release from prison, De Los Santos and Ramirez-Larios are to be deported.
The fourth co-defendant is Kevin Alain Coello-Galeano, whose age and address was not available. It’s unclear when he will next appear in court.
Contact Preston Knight at 574-6272 or email@example.com