Edinburg Couple Convicted in Sex Trafficking Conspiracy
MCALLEN – An Edinburg couple was convicted for their roles in sex trafficking of minors in which two minor females engaged in commercial sex acts.
Prosecutors said 37-year-old Abelardo Gomez and his 25-year-old girlfriend Cerena Ortiz pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit sex trafficking of minors.
Gomez said he and Ortiz drove to Louisiana to pick up two minor females, ages 14 and 15, on March 25, 2016. They then transported them back to a residence in Edinburg he shared with Ortiz.
According to court documents, Gomez and Ortiz took revealing photographs of the minors. The photos were used to create advertisements on backpage.com promoting the prostitution of the teenagers.
Both admitted the minors engaged in commercial sex acts with several adult males in the Edinburg residence, in motel rooms and in a vehicle belonging to Gomez.
Gomez and Ortiz said they abandoned the minors at a local convenience store two weeks after. The girls called 911 and reported the incident to local authorities.
A U.S. district judge accepted the pleas on Wednesday and set sentencing for May 16. If convicted, the duo faces up to life in federal prison.
The FBI and the Edinburg Police Department conducted the investigation.
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