Queens sex traffickers ran Corona brothels: Cops
In face of strong evidence against them, the young Mexican men surprised the courtroom by pleading guilty to all 27 counts, including charges that they had smuggled women into the United States from Mexico to work as prostitutes.Josue Flores Carreto, 37; his brother, Gerardo Flores Carreto, 35; and Daniel Perez Alonso, 26, stood before Judge Frederic Block in Brooklyn federal court, where they admitted that they had engaged in sex trafficking, forced labor, and importing aliens for immoral purposes. The defendants also entered guilty pleas to various conspiracy charges.Alonso's attorney, Allen Lashey, said the decision to enter a guilty plea arose from the potentially long sentence the three faced if convicted. If the accused had been found guilty at trial, he said, they could have been sentenced to 30 years to life. The guilty pleas, he said, were a last ditch effort for leniency."You always hope the judge will give a lesser sentence when you plead guilty," he said.In their pleas, the three men said they forced nine women to commit sexual acts in city brothels between 1992 and 2004. Two of the brothels were located in Corona at 37-71 104th St. and 104-56 41st Ave. The Carreto brothers, both of whom served as the sex ring's organizers and leaders, and Alonso, who claimed a role as supervisor and manager, read their statements to the court in Spanish with the assistance of a court-appointed translator."We smuggled them to the United States from Mexico with the intention of forcing them to engage in prostitution," said the elder Carreto during his plea. "I forced those women to engage in sex with threats of causing them injury and physical restriction." Two of the women, identified only as Veronica R. and Veronica G., were under 18 years old at the time, the men said. If the girls disobeyed their orders, they were assaulted to the point of physical injury.The women were not allowed to keep any of the money they earned through prostitution because the money was taken by the defendants, who then kept a portion and wired the rest to other sex ring members in Mexico. Block took several hours to clarify the defendants' pleas, admitting his confusion following the 12th-hour development. The Carreto brothers and Alonso were offered a plea bargain of 14 years in prison soon after their arrest in February 2004, but they turned down the offer."It was an all-or-nothing deal back then," said Josue Carreto's attorney, Telesforo Del Valle Jr. "My client and his brother wanted to take it, but (Alonso) didn't want it, so it was denied."Federal prosecutor Daniel Alonso told the judge that the defendants could do no worse than a trial, but he said eye-witness evidence against the three men probably lessened their resolve."They know the case is overwhelming against them," Alonso said.Valle said if the case actually had gone to trial, it would have been one of the first of its kind to be tried in the country.
Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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