HOUSTON (AP) - A man accused of luring Central American women
and girls to the United States and forcing them to work at cantinas and restaurants has been sentenced to 13 years in prison and ordered to pay $1.7 million in restitution to his victims.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of Texas says Maximo Mondragon was the last of eight defendants sentenced in connection with the scheme. Authorities say the ring in the Houston area threatened victims and their families with harm if they attempted to leave before working off their smuggling debt.
Before being sentenced Monday, the 57-year-old Mondragon had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to hold people as indentured servants, illegally recruiting, harboring and transporting people for labor and conspiracy to bring, harbor and transport illegal immigrants for private financial gain.