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United States v. Estrada-Tepal

United States District Court, E.D. New York

September 29, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
JORGE ESTRADA-TEPAL, RICARDO ESTRADA-TEPAL and VICTOR LEONEL ESTRADA-TEPAL, Defendants

For Jorge Estrada-Tepal, Defendant: Mitchell Alan Golub, LEAD ATTORNEY, Golub & Golub LLP, New York, NY.

For Ricardo Estrada-Tepal, Defendant: Jonathan Marks, LEAD ATTORNEY, Jonathan Marks, P.C., New York, NY.

For Victor Leonel Estrada-Tepal, also known as Leonel, Defendant: Michael H. Gold, LEAD ATTORNEY, New York, NY.

For Araceli Navarrete-Castro, also known as Norma, Defendant: Michelle A. Gelernt, LEAD ATTORNEY, Federal Defenders of New York, Brooklyn, NY.

For USA, Plaintiff: Melody Wells, LEAD ATTORNEY, United States Attorney's Office - EDNY, Brooklyn, NY; Taryn A. Merkl, LEAD ATTORNEY, United States Attorneys Office, Eastern District of New York, Brooklyn, NY.

Page 165

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

MARGO K. BRODIE, United States District Judge.

Defendants Jorge Estrada-Tepal, Ricardo Estrada-Tepal and Victor Leonel Estrada-Tepal are charged with sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1591(a)(1)-(2), 1594(c), conspiracy to transport illegal aliens, in violation of Title 8, United States Code, Section 1324(a)(1)(A)(v)(I), and transportation of illegal aliens for financial gain, in violation of Title 8, United States Code, Section 1324(a)(1)(A)(ii). Currently before the Court is Defendant Ricardo Estrada-Tepal's (" Defendant" ) motion to dismiss all counts brought pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1591 on the basis that the law is unconstitutionally overbroad.[1] For the reasons discussed below, the Court finds that 18 U.S.C. § 1591 is not unconstitutionally overbroad, and therefore denies Defendant's motion to dismiss all counts brought pursuant to that statute.

I. Background

a. The Estrada-Tepal trafficking organization

In approximately March 2013, Homeland Security Investigations (" HSI" ) began

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investigating an extended family known as the " Estrada-Tepal trafficking organization" for sex trafficking activities.[2] (Compl. ¶ 3.) As part of the investigation, HSI interviewed a victim (" Victim #1" ) of the Estrada-Tepal trafficking organization. ( Id. ¶ 4.) Victim #1 described the methods by which the Estrada-Tepal trafficking organization engaged in the transportation of women to the United States to work in prostitution and the use of physical violence and threats to force the women to work in prostitution. ( Id.) HSI determined that the Estrada-Tepal Trafficking organization operated out of one or more locations in Queens, New York. ( Id.)

Victim #1 met Defendant in Mexico, where they started dating. ( Id. ¶ 5.) Shortly thereafter, she moved in with Defendant at his home in Puebla, Mexico. ( Id.) Within a week of moving in, Defendant told Victim #1 that they were going to travel to the United States to work. ( Id.) Defendant smuggled Victim #1 into the United States on a train. ( Id.) Victim #1 eventually met with Defendant's brother, Victor Leonel Estrada-Tepal (" Leonel" ), in New Jersey on or about August 9, 2011. ( Id.) Leonel pressured Victim #1 to pay her debt -- the price of her smuggling into the United States. ( Id.) Victim #1 attempted to obtain money from friends and family but Leonel told her that she would have to work as a prostitute to pay the debt. ( Id.) Victim #1 told Defendant about this demand and Defendant told Victim #1 to listen to Leonel. ( Id.) Victim #1 was told that if she did not work, her family would pay the price. ( Id.) In October 2011, Victim #1 decided to run away. ( Id. ¶ 8.) Defendant called Victim #1 and told her that if she did not return, something was going to happen to her or her family. ( Id.)

Victim #2 met Jorge Estrada-Tepal (" Jorge" ) in Mexico where they began dating. ( Id. ¶ 11.) Shortly thereafter, Jorge smuggled Victim #2 into the United States where they lived together in Queens, New York. ( Id.) Jorge initially pressured Victim #2 into working at a bar, and later forced Victim #2 into prostitution. ( Id. ¶ 12.) Victim #2 worked as a prostitute for approximately four years. ( Id. ¶ 13.)

In addition, Victim #3 claims that she was asked by a member of the Estrada-Tepal trafficking organization to travel to the United States for work and was later forced into prostitution. ( Id. ¶ 14.)

On January 30, 2014, HSI agents arrested Defendant, and his brothers, Leonel and Jorge, based on their illegal immigration status. ( Id. ΒΆ 25.) Upon arrest, Defendant admitted that he paid approximately $5,500 to have another female victim smuggled into the ...


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