Four Arraigned in Connection with Human Trafficking Operation
First Charges by AG’s Office Under New Human Trafficking Law in Massachusetts
BOSTON – Four individuals, including a husband and wife, have been arraigned in connection with allegedly running a sophisticated human trafficking operation in and around the Boston area, Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office announced today. Today’s arraignments came after the four individuals were arrested on Friday. These are the first arrests made by AG Coakley’s Office under the new human trafficking law in Massachusetts, which went into effect on February 19, 2012.
Rafael Henriquez, age 39, and his wife Ramona Carpio Hernandez, age 50, both of East Boston, were arraigned today in East Boston District Court each on one count of Trafficking in Persons for Sexual Servitude. Milton Lopez-Martinez, age 26, was also arraigned in East Boston District Court on one count of Trafficking in Persons for Sexual Servitude and Diego Suarez, age 34, was arraigned today in Chelsea District Court on one count of Trafficking in Persons for Sexual Servitude. All four defendants pleaded not guilty and each was held on $75,000 cash bail.
The arrests and subsequent arraignments are the result of a joint, months-long operation conducted by the Attorney General’s Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Massachusetts State Police, working in close cooperation with the Boston Police Department, Lynn Police Department and Chelsea Police.
Investigators allege that Hernandez and Henriquez were the leaders of this organization, running a sophisticated human trafficking operation that transported numerous women into the area, housing them in deplorable conditions for a week at a time. The AG’s Office alleges these women were brought to Massachusetts for the sole purpose of engaging in the sex trade and that these defendants recruited the women, and enticed them to engage in sexual acts with “johns,” sometimes up to 15 times a day. The investigation also determined that Lopez-Martinez and Suarez allegedly handled the daily operations of the organization, including supervising the two primary locations in East Boston and Chelsea as well as transporting women to house calls of other “johns.”
Henriquez, Hernandez, and Lopez-Martinez were arrested without incident by Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Attorney General’s Office on March 23, 2012. On the same date, Suarez was arrested without incident in Chelsea. All four defendants were arraigned on March 26, 2012. Henriquez, Hernandez, and Lopez-Martinez were arraigned in East Boston District Court and Suarez in Chelsea District Court. All four defendants pleaded not guilty and each was held on $75,000 cash bail. Judge Roberto Ronquillo, Jr. handled the East Boston arraignments and Judge James Wexler handled the Chelsea arraignment. Henriquez, Hernandez, and Lopez-Martinez are due back in East Boston District Court on April 19, 2012 for a probable cause hearing. Suarez is due back in Chelsea District Court on April 11, 2012, also for a probable cause hearing.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Dean Mazzone, Chief of Attorney General Coakley’s Enterprise and Major Crimes Division, and Assistant Attorney General Marina Moriarty, also from the AG’s Enterprise and Major Crimes Division. The ongoing investigation is being handled by Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Attorney General’s Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Boston Police Department.