Preying on illegal immigrants and new arrivals to the states, Rafael Barnabe-Caballero used the guise of a glitzy South Beach escort service to force women into the disturbing world of Internet prostitution.
Federal prosecutors charged the South Beach resident with multiple counts of sex trafficking and prostitution Thursday as part of a U.S. customs investigation that turned up Barnabe-Caballero attracted clients from all over the country.
With all the seedy things to get into on South Beach, Barnabe-Caballero chose to exploit the Internet.
The website, www.miamiultimate.com, was taken offline and re-launched by customs agents to trap would-be and frequent customers and to get more information on how the operation worked. Many of the clients came from the Detroit area, where the trial will be held.
Another man, Michael Porru, will be arraigned for his role in the prostitution ring March 23.
Both men allegedly threatened their hookers with deportation or physical harm if they did not perform the depraved sex acts johns wanted.
If convicted, the E-pimps could spend the rest of their lives in prison.