Alleged sex trafficker extradited from Mexico to face charges in New York

Raul Granados Rendon. (PHOTO: Pulso)

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City distributed this news release from the U.S. Justice Department on Jan. 31, 2017:

Raul Granados-Rendon, who had been on ICE’s most wanted list since 2010, was arrested in September 2016 in Mexico, following a joint investigation between ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Mexico City, HSI New York and the Mexican Federal Police. He was extradited to the United States on Friday and he was arraigned Saturday, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, on a 21-count indictment charging him with racketeering and racketeering conspiracy involving predicate acts of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion; sex trafficking of minors; interstate prostitution; alien smuggling and related offenses. Granados-Rendon was ordered detained by U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlene Lindsay.

The extradition and indictment was announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent-in- Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York.

“This extradition, the latest chapter in our multi-year case against the Granados sex trafficking organization, again demonstrates our resolve to seek justice for victims of modern day slavery. We will not rest until those who seek to profit from the forced slavery of others are brought to justice,” stated United States Attorney Capers.

“We at HSI can think of no better way to end Human Trafficking Awareness month than with the extradition of Raul Granados-Rendon, who has been on our most wanted list for numerous crimes including sex trafficking,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Melendez of HSI New York. “This individual is just one of many who allegedly helped run a sex trafficking organization that was responsible for smuggling numerous women into the United States where they were forced to work as prostitutes against their will. We will not rest until all of these individuals face the justice they deserve.”

As set forth in extradition affidavits and other court papers, between October 1998 and June 2011, members of the Granados sex trafficking organization, including Raul Granados-Rendon and others, illegally smuggled young women into the United States where they were forced to work as prostitutes in New York City and elsewhere in the United States. The organization collected profits from the victims’ activities. When victims refused to work or resisted, members of the organization beat and sexually assaulted them, and threatened the victims’ family members in Mexico, including the victims’ children.

HSI special agents have identified and rescued over 20 additional victims – all Mexican nationals – and arrested over a dozen additional traffickers or smugglers, all members or associates of the Granados family. Several victims were sexually assaulted by their traffickers, while others were physically assaulted. All the victims said the traffickers threatened to harm their family members.

To date, 13 members of the Granados organization have been indicted in the Eastern District of New York on sex trafficking charges. Raul Granados-Rendon was the last fugitive to be arrested and extradited to face the charges.

In announcing the extradition and arraignment, U.S. Attorney Capers commended the HSI’s New York Office, the HSI Mexico Attaché Office and the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, the State Department, and the New York City Police Department for their assistance and praised the government of Mexico for its role in advancing bilateral anti-trafficking enforcement efforts.

The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Since 2009, the Department of Justice and HSI have collaborated with Mexican law enforcement counterparts in a Bilateral Human Trafficking Enforcement Initiative aimed at strengthening high-impact prosecutions under both U.S. and Mexican law. The initiative is aimed at dismantling human trafficking networks operating across the U.S.-Mexico border, bringing human traffickers to justice, reuniting victims with their children and restoring the rights and dignity of human trafficking victims held under the trafficking networks’ control. These efforts have resulted in successful prosecutions in both Mexico and the United States, including U.S. federal prosecutions of more than 50 defendants in multiple cases in New York, Georgia, Florida, and Texas since 2009, and numerous Mexican federal and state prosecutions of associated sex traffickers. The extraditions in this case are the latest development in the Eastern District of New York’s comprehensive anti-trafficking program, which has to date indicted more than 70 defendants in sex trafficking cases and provided assistance to more than 135 victims, including 39 minors. In addition, through the Eastern District of New York’s anti-trafficking program, 18 children have been reunited with their victim-mothers.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Civil Rights Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Taryn Merkl and Jennifer M. Sasso are in charge of the prosecution.