Julio Cesar Revolorio Ramos, 29, of Adelphi, Md., pled guilty today to sex trafficking a 15-year-old runaway as part of a multi-state conspiracy that prostituted hundreds of women and girls since at least 2008. Ramos paid a portion of his profits to MS-13 gang members who extorted “rent” under threats of violence to Ramos and other co-conspirators involved in prostitution in northern Virginia.
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli; United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Neil H. MacBride; and John P. Torres, Special Agent in Charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Washington, D.C., made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge Claude M. Hilton.
Ramos, a native of Guatemala illegally present in the U.S., pled guilty to sex trafficking a child and faces a maximum penalty of life in prison when he is sentenced on February 8, 2013.
“Juvenile sex trafficking is one of the most horrible crimes that one could commit,” said Attorney General Cuccinelli. “Though we can’t take back what happened to these girls, my office remains committed to protecting our most vulnerable citizens, so we are determined to get vile criminals like this off the streets and away from our kids.”
“Ramos admitted that he recruited a 15-year-old girl and marketed her youth to customers who sought out young girls for sex,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “He was one member of a multi-state conspiracy that prostituted hundreds of women and girls for profit, and this conviction reflects my office’s determination to pursue other child sex traffickers and put them out of business in northern Virginia.”
“It is clear that Ramos coldly exploited this victim who was already at risk by being a runaway and that he committed the heinous crime of sex trafficking of a minor,” said HSI SAC Torres. “HSI is committed to protecting victims and to combatting the crime of human trafficking.”
Ramos admitted in court that he was part of a conspiracy that prostituted Hispanic women and girls – most of whom were illegal aliens – in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. He advertised the prostitution business by handing out business cards purporting to be for plumbing, landscaping or snow removal business, but which contained a telephone number a customer could call to obtain sexual services from a prostitute. Ramos and others would hand out these cards to those congregating at sites for day laborers, Hispanic restaurants, and check cashing stores in Virginia.
In January 2009, a 15-year-old female runaway was staying with a man in Maryland who demanded rent from her. Ramos and a co-conspirator encouraged her to work as a prostitute as a “great way to make money.” On the first day that Ramos prostituted the girl, she had sexual relations with 17 customers, and on the third day she had sexual relations with 25 customers. Ramos knew that she was less than 18 years old, describing her as “young” to potential customers on the phone. Several customers repeatedly requested her specifically because of her young age.
Ramos admitted that he typically prostituted a woman or girl for a six-day period. To ensure that customers had new women for sex, at the end of the six-day period, he usually would prostitute a different woman or girl than the one he had prostituted the week before. From June 2010 through December 2010, during weeks that Ramos was prostituting other women and not prostituting the 15-year-old girl, his co-conspirators prostituted her in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
After receiving a portion of the proceeds from the women providing sexual services to his customers, Ramos paid “rent” to MS-13 gang members under threats of violence, and he also sent some proceeds to co-conspirators living in Mexico.
This case was investigated by ICE HSI, with assistance from the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force. Virginia Assistant Attorney General and Special Assistant United States Attorney Marc J. Birnbaum and Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Frank are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
Founded in 2004, the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force is a collaboration of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies – along with nongovernmental organizations – dedicated to combating human trafficking and related crimes. From FY2011 to the present, 44 defendants have been prosecuted in 25 cases in the Eastern District of Virginia for human trafficking and trafficking-related conduct involving at least 32 victims.