Human and sex trafficking has been a focus of law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S. Texas has seen a significant number of trafficking arrests and convictions because the Mexican border is often targeted as a high-crime area. Because these crimes are often high-profile cases, even the allegation of human and sex trafficking can ruin your life. If you have been charged with human and sex trafficking, you need a knowledgeable Houston criminal defense attorney on your side. Call The Law Offices of Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767 for a free consultation.
Consequences of Human and Sex Trafficking
A conviction of human and sex trafficking crimes almost always results in serious prison time. Penalties for trafficking are stricter than ever, and repeat convictions may lead to life in prison.
U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced in January that the leader of the largest sex trafficking bust in Texas history was sentenced to life in federal prison. Hortencia Medeles-Arguello was convicted on multiple counts, including conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, conspiracy to harbor aliens, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
It was a landmark case as 12 international victims came forward to testify against Medeles-Arguello. Girls as young as 14 were recruited with false promises and then forced into prostitution in Houston, where Medeles-Arguello ran a cantina. Some of the women were enslaved for more than a decade.
Twelve other individuals were charged and convicted of related crimes, including harboring aliens and committing or aiding and abetting money laundering. Another defendant, Alfonso Diaz-Juarez is a fugitive.
Because the consequences are so severe, it is essential that you have a strong Houston criminal defense attorney on your side if you have been charged with human and sex trafficking crimes. Attorney Ned Barnett can help you navigate the complicated legal system and obtain the best possible outcome.
Ongoing Arrests and Convictions
Texas law enforcement agencies continue to arrest and convict people for human and sex trafficking. Texas has one of the highest arrest rates for human trafficking, a study funded by the National Institute for Justice found.
Recently, Gerardo Salazar pleaded guilty to recruiting women from Mexico to come to the U.S. and then forcing these women, including minors, into prostitution. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
The leader of another large sex trafficking ring, Bruce Wayne Wallis, was arrested in March and has been charged with aggravated promotion of prostitution and engaging in organized criminal activity for running brothels in the Houston area.
Contact a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney
Not every person charged with trafficking-related offenses is guilty. Some defendants may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and many establishments that participate in sex trafficking also maintain regular staff, such as bartenders and waiters, who aren’t involved in the crimes. Friends and loved ones are sometimes unwittingly involved in trafficking schemes.
If you’ve been charged with a sex trafficking crime, you need a skilled attorney like Ned Barnett by your side. He has decades of experience as a Houston criminal defense attorney and will aggressively fight for your rights in court. Call The Law Offices of Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767 for a free consultation.