Guatemalan incited a minor to prostitute himself in MARYLAND

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US District Judge Ellen L. Hollander today sentenced Feliciano de Jesus Diaz-Martinez, alias Alex, 43, of Owings Mills, Maryland, to 27 years in federal prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release. , for sex trafficking of a child, solicitation of a minor to engage in prostitution, forcible sex trafficking, fraud and coercion, and distribution of controlled substances. Diaz-Martinez, who has been in custody since his July 25, 2019 indictment, was convicted of those charges by a federal jury on November 18, 2021.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge James R. Mancuso Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; Chief Melissa R. Hyatt of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.

According to evidence presented at his nine-day trial, from at least 2016 through May 2019, Diaz-Martinez, a Guatemalan citizen in the United States illegally, caused at least eight people, including a minor, to engage in commercial sex acts for their own financial gain through force, fraud and coercion. Trial testimony confirmed that Diaz-Martinez knew that Victim 1 was 16 years old when he first forced her to engage in commercial sex acts. Victim 1 continued to work for Díaz-Martínez until he was approximately 18 years old. The evidence proved that nearly all of the victims Diaz-Martinez induced to engage in commercial sex acts suffered from serious substance abuse disorders, including addictions to heroin, crack, and Xanax. Diaz-Martinez took half or all of the money earned by the victims working for him and sold narcotics to some of the victims, often at prices significantly higher than what he paid to purchase the drugs.

As detailed in trial testimony, Diaz-Martinez maintained a network of friends and associates who paid to engage in commercial sex acts with the victims Diaz-Martinez advertised and made available to them. Díaz-Martínez sent his clients photographs of victims available for commercial sex and set the prices clients would pay to engage in sexual acts with victims he controlled. Díaz-Martínez would then transport, or have transported, the victims to the homes of his clients, or to hotel rooms that he rented, to engage in commercial sex acts. Evidence showed Diaz-Martinez also invited clients to engage in commercial sex acts with victims at his apartment and in a storage unit he rented.

Witnesses testified that Diaz-Martinez maintained several different accounts under aliases on a social media platform, which he used to recruit and communicate with victims to entice them to work for him and engage in commercial sex acts, including many users he had. he never met. The jury found that Díaz-Martínez sometimes offered users he communicated with heroin and crack, which he referred to as “boy” and “girl,” in exchange for engaging in commercial sex with his clients. Diaz-Martinez also ordered victims who worked for him to recruit his friends, many of whom were also narcotics addicts, to engage in commercial sex for financial gain.

Several victims testified that Diaz-Martínez frequently demanded that they engage in sexual acts with him, free of charge, and that he retaliated against victims if he was not personally satisfied with the sexual encounter. Díaz-Martínez also retaliated against victims who violated his rules, did not earn enough money from commercial sex, or upset him in various ways, including leaving them at clients’ homes and on highways without their belongings or transportation and withholding drugs. of the victims he knew were addicts.

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