Couple Plead Guilty To Forcing Mexican
JUL 02 -- (Brooklyn, NY) Domingo Salazar and his wife, Norma Mendez, pled guilty yesterday to sex trafficking charges relating to their forced prostitution of a minor. Both defendants face maximum sentences of life imprisonment, and Salazar also faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment. The defendants have been in federal custody since their arrests in November 2009. The plea proceedings were held before United States District Court Judge John Gleeson at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn.
Between April 2007 and November 2009, the defendants, who are Mexican nationals, used physical violence, threats, and intimidation to force a 17-year-old Mexican woman (the victim), to work as a prostitute in and around New York City and elsewhere. The victim was not permitted to leave the apartment where she lived with the defendants in Brooklyn except to work as a prostitute. Half of the money she earned was taken by Salazar, and the balance was kept by drivers who transported her to work locations.
The violence used against the victim included Salazar punching her in the face and body and beating her with a brick and a wooden board, and Mendez cutting her with a knife.
In announcing the guilty pleas, United States Attorney Loretta E. Lynch expressed her grateful appreciation to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement “Strike Force” (Strike Force) - which is comprised of agents and officers of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the New York City Police Department, the United States Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, the Department of Homeland Security United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New York State Police. The Strike Force is partially funded by the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), which is a federally funded crime fighting initiative. United States Attorney Lynch also praised the Kings County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Warren, Carolyn Pokorny, and Pamela Chen.