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6 arrested in New Jersey human trafficking case

Jose Cruz Romero-Flores, 38, aka "Chato," was arrested on Thursday, July 11, at his apartment on River Avenue in Lakewood on charges of first-degree human trafficking, second-degree promoting organized street crime, and third-degree promoting prostitution.
July 18, 2013 6:42:37 PM PDT
Officials say they have cracked an international ring operating in New Jersey that brought women from Mexico into the U.S. illegally to work as prostitutes.

Officials say the ring was part of a network of brothels in New York and surrounding states that paid people to smuggle the women, often under the guise that they would work as house cleaners or baby sitters.

In other cases, the women were coerced into entering the U.S. to work at the brothels and send money they earned back to Mexico, authorities said.

Only one of the brothels was up and running when detectives executed a search warrant that included the seizure of ledgers that listed the names of the women and the dates they were scheduled to work, authorities said. State prosecutors say 38-year-old Jose Romero-Flores of Lakewood operated several brothels in the Ocean County town. Romero-Flores is charged with human trafficking.

His girlfriend is accused of assisting him in the operation of the brothels and four men are charged with conspiracy to commit human trafficking.

Romero-Flores made the women meet demanding quotas, and it was not uncommon for them to service more than 100 johns in a six-day week and sometimes as many as 40 in a day, at $30 an encounter, authorities said.

Acting Attorney General John Hoffman says the arrests are the first under a new state law that carries tougher penalties.

The suspects were identified as:

Jose Cruz Romero-Flores, 38, aka "Chato," was arrested on Thursday, July 11, at his apartment on River Avenue in Lakewood on charges of first-degree human trafficking, second-degree promoting organized street crime, and third-degree promoting prostitution.

Romero-Flores's girlfriend, Odulia Bedran Trejo, 22, was arrested on Sunday, July 14, at Romero-Flores's apartment on charges of second-degree promoting organized street crime and third-degree promoting prostitution.

Felix Rios-Martinez, 47, of Lakewood, was charged with first-degree conspiracy to commit human trafficking, second-degree promoting organized street crime, and third-degree promoting prostitution.

Haliro Bueno, 21, of Lakewood, was charged with second-degree conspiracy to commit human trafficking, second-degree promoting organized street crime, and third-degree promoting prostitution.

Raul Romero-Castillo, 30, of Lakewood, was charged with first-degree conspiracy to commit human trafficking, second-degree promoting organized street crime, and third-degree promoting prostitution.

Santos Lazaero Flores-Cruz, 58, of Union City, was charged with second-degree conspiracy to commit human trafficking, second-degree promoting organized street crime, and third-degree promoting prostitution.

(Some information from the Associated Press)


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