What to Know
- Three New Jersey residents were charged for their roles in a sex trafficking conspiracy, according to federal prosecutors.
- According to court documents, the three conspired to coerce multiple women to engage in commercial sex in New Jersey and New York
- One of the accused coerced victims from prison, federal prosecutors say
Three New Jersey residents were charged for their roles in a sex trafficking conspiracy, according to federal prosecutors.
Jean Noriega, 48, Enna Gonzalez, 53, and John Oyola, 32, all of Paterson, were each charged in a criminal complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito for the District of New Jersey and Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division jointly announced Thursday.
According to court documents, the three conspired to coerce multiple women to engage in commercial sex in New Jersey and New York.
The count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, a $250,000 fine and mandatory restitution, prosecutors say.
Attorney information for the accused was not immediately available.
Prosecutors say Noriega used violence, threats of violence, threats of drug withdrawal and other means to force the victims to engage in sex for his profit, including after he was imprisoned for a previous conviction – a sentence he is still serving.
Prosecutors go on to say Oyola and Gonzalez allegedly helped Noriega control the victims through various means, collect the proceeds, and otherwise carry out his sex trafficking activities while incarcerated.
"The conduct alleged in this complaint defies humanity," Special Agent-in-Charge Gregory W. Ehrie, of the FBI, said in a statement. "These individuals allegedly plied young women with promises of a better life and then used drugs, violence and extreme emotional manipulation - including death threats - as a means of control."
Ehrie went on to say that the "women were then forced to engage in commercial sex, exposing them to both health and physical danger, while the defendants profited. The lead defendant treated them as chattel, branding some with his name, raping them, and beating them when it suited him."
The FBI’s Newark Child Exploitation Human Trafficking Task Force, the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office’s Human Trafficking Unit and the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Office of Special Investigations assisted in the investigation that led to the charges, according to Carpenito.