April 14, 2007, 12:02PM
Man who ran ring of brothels receives prison sentence
2007 The Associated Press
AUSTIN A man who pleaded guilty to managing brothels as part of a nationwide ring that forced immigrant women into prostitution was sentenced to six years and eight months in federal prison.
Juan Balderas-Orosco, a Mexican citizen, will be deported upon his release from prison.
Four others connected to the case were also sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks.
Twelve people have faced smuggling, prostitution and financial charges related to the case. Six have been sentenced, three have pleaded guilty and await sentencing and three are fugitives.
Balderas ran brothels in Travis County, east of Austin, Oklahoma City, Las Vegas and Fort Worth, according to court documents and testimony. The brothels were part of a crime network that included brothels in at least 13 states.
The ringleaders sneaked hundreds of women, mostly from Latin America, into the country and forced them to have sex with as many as 40 men a day, many of them also illegal immigrants. They moved the women from brothel to brothel and kept their earnings, according to court documents.
During the sentencing hearing Friday, Balderas' attorney argued that the women who worked as prostitutes were given cell phones, allowed to keep some of their earnings and enjoyed periods of freedom.
Sparks disagreed with the characterization that their lives weren't so bad, saying the women were like prisoners.