6 People Sentenced in Human Trafficking Case - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

6 People Sentenced in Human Trafficking Case

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A United States attorney announced Tuesday afternoon sentences for six individuals following their guilty pleas to human-trafficking-related charges.

U.S. Attorney Danny Williams held a press event Tuesday afternoon at his office in downtown Tulsa. Some of the charges the six individuals were arrested on were sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion and coercion and enticement to travel in interstate commerce to engage in prostitution.

According to a release from the attorney's office, the follow individuals were arrested:

   Juan Rosales Garza, aka "Fernando," pled guilty March 28, 2012, was sentenced Monday to a term of imprisonment for 135 months; to pay restitution of $18,340 and $3,780 to pay jointly and severally with his co-defendants and $100 special monetary assessment.

   Sermaias Samuel Sanchez Ajin was sentenced Monday to 13 months; $3,780 restitution to pay jointly and severally with his co-defendant's and $100 special monetary assessment.

   Antonio Felix Velasquez-Lopez, aka "Tony," was sentenced Monday to a term of imprisonment for 87 months; $1,530 restitution and $100 special monetary assessment.

   Israel Velasquez-Ramirez, aka "Marcos," was sentenced Tuesday to a term of imprisonment for 18 months; $420 restitution and $100 special monetary assessment.

   Piedad Garcia was sentenced Tuesday to a term of imprisonment for 24 months; $6,580 restitution; $200,000 money judgment and $100 special monetary assessment.

   Gloria N. Giammalva, aka "Diana," was sentenced Tuesday to a term of imprisonment for 21 months; $18,340 restitution jointly and $3,780 jointly with other co-defendant's and a $100 special monetary assessment.

The case, dubbed "Operation Poker Chip," was investigated starting in January 2012, by the following law enforcement agencies:  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office (TCSO).

A seventh defendant, Ignacio Ijom-Brito, also pled guilty to the charges and was sentenced in December 2012, to 14 months in federal prison.  There is no parole in the federal prison system.

According to the release from the attorney's office, in addition to the above prison sentences, Juan Rosales-Garza and Piedad Currea-Garcia will forfeit to the United States any property, real or personal, derived from proceeds obtained during the sex trafficking conspiracy.

The operation derives its name from poker chips that were given to the customers who paid a "caretaker" to have sex with a sex trafficking victim.  The customer then turned in the poker chip to the victim.  The sex traffickers or "caretakers" collected the poker chips at the end of the day to keep track of how many clients they had.

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