Two Individuals Associated with Brothel in Newport News and Williamsburg Plead Guilty
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 03, 2009|
NEWPORT, VA—Emma Tlacoxolal-Perez, age 36, from Williamsburg, Virginia, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to transport and entice individuals, in interstate commerce, to engage in prostitution, reentry of a removed alien, and coercion and enticement. One of her co-defendants, Felipe Vargas-Ortega, age 46, from Williamsburg, Virginia, plead guilty on March 25, 2009, to conspiracy to transport and entice individuals, in interstate commerce, to engage in prostitution, and coercion and enticement. Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, made the announcement today after Tlacoxolal-Perez’s plea was accepted by United States District Judge Mark S. Davis.
Both defendants were indicted by a federal grand in an indictment returned on February 11, 2009, and faced conspiracy charges related to operating brothels in James City County and Newport News in violation of both federal and state laws. Sentencing for both defendants is scheduled for June 23, 2009. Tlacoxolal-Perez faces a maximum penalty of five years on the conspiracy charge, twenty years on the coercion charge, and two years for the reentry charge. Vargas-Ortega faces a maximum penalty of five years on the conspiracy charge and twenty years on the coercion charge.
According to the indictment, the defendants and co-conspirators would induce Hispanic women from Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and the District of Columbia to travel to Virginia for the purpose of engaging in prostitution. The women, many of whom were from Mexico and various other countries in Central America were in some instances illegally in the United States. The indictment alleges that the co-conspirators would rent various houses in Hampton Roads, including Newport News, Chesapeake, and Williamsburg, Virginia to house prostitutes and have them ply their trade. The prostitutes were transported to the various brothels, explained the procedures, money was collected from customers, and the money was then used to pay other persons involved in the transportation of the prostitutes as well as for the operation of the brothels. The indictment alleges that upon payment for sexual services, the customers would receive a poker style playing card from one of the co-conspirators. The customer would then turn the card over to a prostitute as proof of payment. At the end of their employment the prostitute would turn all playing cards over to one of the co-conspirators who would pay the prostitute $15.00 for each playing card.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Federal Bureau of Investigation, James City County Police Department and the Newport News Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Howard J. Zlotnick and Lisa R. McKeel prosecuted these cases on behalf of the United States.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.