Tuesday, August 16, 2016
HOUSTON – The first three of six men convicted for their varying roles in an international sex trafficking of minors conspiracy have been ordered to federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
Jose William Quintanilla, 41, pleaded guilty just as trial testimony was set to begin Nov. 12, 2015. Adelio De Jesus Batres, 53, and Hugo Alexander Melendez-Gonzalez, 38, had pleaded imediately prior to trial. The remaining three - Francis Yuvinni Guerra Pleitez, 34, Walter Alexander Ejcalon Xalcut, 27, and Mariano Quintanilla-Campos, 33 – had previously entered guilty pleas in the case.
Today, U.S. District Judge David Hittner handed Melendez-Gonzalez a sentence of 327 months in federal prison. Quintanilla was ordered to serve a 360-month sentence, while Batres will serve 330 months. Judge Hittner also ordered them to pay $90,110.00 in restitution to the victims. In handing down the sentence, Judge Hittner noted that he wanted each of the defendants to be “thrown out of the country” after serving their prison sentences. All are citizens of El Salvador who had been residing in the Houston area and are expected to face deportation proceedings following release from prison. Pleitz, Quintanilla-Campos and Xalcut are set for sentencing Aug. 17, 18, and 19, respectively. Pleitz and Quintanilla-Campos are also from El Salvador, while Zalcut is from Guatemala.
Court records demonstrated that from late 2010 to the present, the men conspired to cause persons less than 18 years of age to engage in commercial sex acts. The men employed women and underage girls, transported them to various apartments for the purpose of engaging in sex and shared in the proceeds derived from the illegal activity. Most, if not all, of the females were also aliens illegally within the U.S.
With the exception of Melendez-Gonzalez, who admitted to sex trafficking of a particular minor, the remaining defendants were all convicted of engaging in the overall sex trafficking of minors conspiracy.
All of the defendants had been and will remain in custody.
The charges arose from an investigation conducted by the FBI, Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Houston Police Department, U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and Texas Department of Public Safety. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julie Searle and Douglas Davis are prosecuting the case.