ATLANTA — On Tuesday, the US Attorney announced sentences for a fourth defendant in an Atlanta-based sex trafficking ring.
The 53-year-old man was convicted for his role in compelling young women from Mexico and Central America to engage in commercial sex.
Severiano Martinez-Rojas was sentenced to 24 years and five months in prison for his role in the sex trafficking of three victims.
“Sex trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery that exploits and traumatizes some of the most vulnerable members of our society,” said US Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “The lengthy prison sentence that this final defendant received is primarily the result of the valiant efforts of these human trafficking survivors to hold their traffickers accountable.”
“This case represents why sex trafficking is such a high priority matter for the FBI, our law enforcement partners, and the non-government agencies who provide assistance to those with nowhere else to turn,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “As one of the worst examples of human trafficking, this case should resonate with those who might consider this reprehensible criminal conduct acceptable."
Pak said that between 2006 and 2008, Martinez-Rojas and co-defendants Arturo Rojas-Coyotl and Odilon Martinez-Rojas lured the victims into fake romantic relationships using promises of love, marriage and real jobs. They arranged for others to smuggle the victims across the border into the US.
Once inside the United States, the defendants used threats, violence and intimidation to coerce the victims to perform countless commercial sex acts in metro Atlanta and Alabama, where Martinez-Rojas operated a brothel.
He was initially indicted in May 2013 but remained a fugitive until he was arrested in Mexico in November 2015 as part of a coordinated US-Mexico bilateral enforcement action.
The enforcement action also resulted in the arrests of seven others in a related case in the Eastern District of New York. Martinez-Rojas was also charged, convicted and sentenced in that case.
Co-defendants Rojas-Coyotl and Odilon Martinez-Rojas had previously pleaded guilty and were sentenced to 16 and 21 years in prison, respectively. A third co-defendant, Daniel Garcia-Tepal, pleaded guilty to a charge of alien harboring and received a sentence of time served.
Since 2009, the federal departments of Justice and Homeland Security have worked together with Mexican law enforcement in a Bilateral Human Trafficking Initiative to more effectively eliminate human trafficking networks on both sides of the border.
As a result of these efforts, more than 170 defendants have been convicted in multiple cases in Georgia, New York, Florida and Texas since 2009, as well as a number of Mexican federal and state prosecutions of associated sex traffickers.