Gotcha: Leader of International Sex Trafficking Ring Sentenced to Life in Prison
October 6, 2016
The FBI and its partners dismantle an international sex trafficking ring operating out of Houston, Texas.
Mollie Halpern: The FBI and its partners dismantle an international sex trafficking ring operating out of Houston, Texas.
I’m Mollie Halpern of the FBI, and this Gotcha, the Bureau’s closed case of the week.
Ring leader Hortencia Medeles-Arguello, known as Tencha, harbored women and children from Mexico and other countries and forced them into prostitution at her cantina, Las Palmas 2. Special Agent Suzanne Bradley used confidential sources to help with the investigation.
Suzanne Bradley: They agreed to help us and make recordings and assist us in obtaining evidence to prove what she and her family were doing.
Halpern: FBI language analysts like Armida Quiroga translated the more than 150 hours of audio recordings from Spanish to English.
Armida Quiroga: As we were listening to audio, we were able to find the money trail. We were able to discover how the money was used. The ringleader made millions of dollars from this operation.
Halpern: A team of language analysts were available to the rescued victims on the night law enforcement raided Las Palmas 2. The FBI’s Sabrina Jennings…
Sabrina Jennings: We were here to help them out, to provide them with comfort, provide them with food—anything that they needed—and explain to them in their language that Tencha and her co-conspirators had been arrested.
Halpern: Tencha was sentenced to life in prison.
- 02.23.2018 — FBI, This Week: Global Sweep Addresses Growing Elder Fraud Threat
- 02.15.2018 — FBI, This Week: Restoring the Identities of Unknown Human Remains
- 02.08.2018 — FBI, This Week: Partnership Helps Reduce Backlogged Sexual Assault Kits
- 02.01.2018 — Inside the FBI: Playing It Safe—The Bureau Prepares for Super Bowl LII
- 02.01.2018 — FBI, This Week: Playing It Safe—The Bureau Prepares for Super Bowl LII