Miguel Rugerio, 28, a Mexican national, pleaded guilty today in federal district court
in Atlanta to charges of conspiracy to illegally transport young women from Mexico
into the United States, and to harbor them, all for purposes of prostitution, and to engage in
the sex trafficking of these victims. Rugerio also pleaded guilty to the
substantive offense of transporting victim “N.M.” in interstate and foreign
commerce for purposes of prostitution.
“Mr. Rugerio pleaded guilty to crimes that robbed the victims not only of
their freedom, but also of their dignity,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant
Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “We are committed to combating
human trafficking and prosecuting those who sexually exploit vulnerable women
for financial benefit.”
Acting U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said of today’s plea, “Human
traffickers trick, lie and coerce young women into this country with the
promise that they will have their freedom, and work a legitimate job. Instead
it is just the opposite: these young women are in essence held captive with
almost no way out, and the so-called job they are forced to do demeans them.
We will continue to find these traffickers and put them in federal prison,
where there is no parole.”
“This case is a perfect example of the outstanding cooperation between
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and our sister law enforcement
agencies. Because of positive interagency cooperation, human trafficking and
smuggling criminal organizations are discovering how difficult it is for them
to hide their illegal activities from authorities,” said Kenneth Smith,
Special Agent in Charge of ICE’s Office of Investigations in Atlanta. “We are
dedicated to identifying and dismantling these types of illicit operations
wherever and whenever we find them.”
FBI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Greg Jones said, “As a direct result of
this criminal investigation and recently passed human trafficking legislation
in Mexico, Mexican law enforcement has, for the first time, been able to
launch their own investigation in an effort to combat this crime problem. We
would like to express our gratitude to the Mexican Consulate in Atlanta,
Georgia for not only their assistance in this matter in general but
specifically in assisting the victims that were being exploited by Mr.
According to Yates, the plea agreement, the indictment and information
presented in court: Rugerio admitted in his plea that from July 2006 to August
2008, he conspired with others to use force, fraud and coercion to cause
approximately five victims to come to the Atlanta area from Mexico and to
engage in prostitution for the financial benefit of the members of the alleged
conspiracy. He further admitted to transporting a victim to states outside of
Georgia, including Alabama and Florida, to engage her in prostitution. Rugerio
used false promises of better lives and marriage to lure young, impoverished
Mexican women to come to the United States, knowing that he would cause the
victims to engage in prostitution upon their arrival. Rugerio required his
victims to engage in commercial sex with many men per night, seven days a
week. Rugerio was indicted on the charges on August 12, 2008.
Rugerio faces a sentence of 5 years in prison. Rugerio remains in custody
pending his sentencing, which is scheduled for Jan. 27, 2010, at 9:00 a.m.
before Senior United States District Judge Clarence Cooper.
This case is the result of a joint investigation conducted by ICE and the FBI.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Moultrie, Jr.,
and Trial Attorney Karima Maloney of the Civil Rights Division’s Human
Trafficking Prosecution Unit.
For further information please contact Sally Quillian Yates, Acting United
States Attorney, or Charysse L. Alexander, Executive Assistant United States
Attorney, through Patrick Crosby, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Attorney’s
Office, at (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S.
Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is
SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice