Ringleader of Easton Brothel Convicted - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Ringleader of Easton Brothel Convicted on Sex Trafficking Charges

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Front door of 318 E. Dover St. in Easton, where prosecutors say 35-year-old German de Jesus Ventura and 25-year-old Kevin Garcia Fuertes ran a brothel and were connected to a sex trafficking ring. (Photo: WBOC) Front door of 318 E. Dover St. in Easton, where prosecutors say 35-year-old German de Jesus Ventura and 25-year-old Kevin Garcia Fuertes ran a brothel and were connected to a sex trafficking ring. (Photo: WBOC)

BALTIMORE-  A federal jury has convicted the alleged ringleader of a brothel operation in Annapolis and Easton on multiple sex trafficking and related charges, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday.

German de Jesus Ventura, 35, was convicted of conspiring to transport and entice females to travel interstate for prostitution; transporting females for prostitution; enticing females to travel interstate for prostitution; sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion; and possessing a gun in furtherance of sex trafficking.

Prosecutors said the jury also convicted co-defendant Kevin Garcia Fuertes, also known as Kerlin Esquivel-Feuntes, 25, on conspiracy and sex trafficking charges.

Both Ventura and Fuertes are illegal aliens from Central America, the DOJ said. Ventura is a citizen of El Salvador who lived illegally in Capitol Heights, Md., while Fuertes is from Honduras and lived illegally in Annapolis and Richmond, Va.

According to evidence presented during the two-week trial, since at least March 2008 through November 2010, Ventura and Fuertes ran brothels in Annapolis and Easton. Prosecutors said Ventura, the ringleader, employed Fuertes to advertise and manage the brothels, and the two men shared the cash proceeds of the prostitution business.
 
Authorities said the defendants recruited and employed prostitutes, many of whom were aliens present in the U.S. unlawfully. Ventura arranged for vans and other vehicles to transport females within Maryland and across state lines to engage in prostitution, court records show.  Prosecutors said Ventura assaulted and threatened to use violence against one prostitute to coerce her continued participation in prostitution, from which Fuertes financially benefited. 
 
Ventura and Fuertes also threatened to use violence against competitor pimps, prosecutors said. Ventura additionally sought to intimidate members of the community who provided help to his prostitutes, according to the DOJ.
 
On July 7, 2010, members of law enforcement executed a search warrant at the brothel located at 318 E. Dover St. in Easton and arrested Isidro Jimenez-Sanchez and Wibert Herrera-Aranda who were working at the brothel. 
 
Ventura and Fuentes face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for the conspiracy count and a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison to a maximum of life in prison for the sex trafficking count. In addition, Ventura faces a maximum of life in prison for possessing a gun in furtherance of sex trafficking and 10 years in prison for the transporting individuals to engage in prostitution and enticement counts. 
 
U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. scheduled sentencing for July 24 at 1 p.m.
 
Jose Antonio Reyes-Maradiaga, 30; Isidro Jiminez-Sanchez and Wibert Alejandro Herrera-Aranda, both 34, of Easton, previously pleaded guilty to their participation in the scheme. 
Prosecutors said those defendants advertised Ventura's brothels, made appointments for the prostitutes and collected money. Reyes also helped to transport the women to the brothel locations, and purchased supplies, according to investigators.
 
Jiminez-Sanchez, a Mexican citizen who entered the United States illegally, was sentenced to a year and day for transporting prostitutes, and upon completion of his sentence, was deported from the U.S. to Mexico. Herrera-Aranda was sentenced to 18 months in prison and Reyes was sentenced to time served. Both were also deported, the DOJ said.  
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