Three illegal immigrants will spend many years behind bars after forcing a young girl to work in order to pay off her smugglers, according to police in Washington.
The three citizens from Mexico, who were living in Aberdeen and Federal Way, Washington, without legal status, were sentenced to prison at the U.S. District Court in Seattle, for conspiracy to violate immigration laws for financial gain.
Miguel Arcef-Flores, 42, was sentenced to 40 months in prison; Angel Sandoval Mondragon, 37, was sentenced to 36 months in prison; and Marbella Sandoval Mondragon, 38, was sentenced to 34 months in prison.
Following their incarceration, each will likely be deported from the U.S.
“The defendants promised the world, and then stole the childhood of a 14-year-old girl,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.
“No one should be forced to live in a world of isolation, servitude and terror as this young victim was, particularly in a country that prides itself on its freedoms,” said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of HSI Seattle.
According to records filed in the case and evidence before the Court, Mondragon, who had recently been voluntarily removed from the United States to Mexico, began recruiting his then 14-year-old niece to travel with him from Mexico into the United States.
Mondragon, his family, Arcef-Flores, and their children, had been living illegally in the Aberdeen, Washington area.
Mondragon promised the young girl a better life with an education and a home with his family. Mondragon smuggled the young teen across the border from Mexico, with the help of smugglers.
The three defendants picked her up and transported them to Aberdeen, where they shared a home with their five children and another teenage niece, who had previously been smuggled into the United States.
The young girl was then informed that she would not be enrolling in school, but was instead expected to work to pay off a smuggling debt.
Mondragon obtained false documents for the teen and helped her procure employment at various low wage temporary jobs at companies in the Seattle area, including Plush Pippin and Seattle Gourmet Food.
The teenager was required to give all the money she earned to the three defendants to pay for rent, food, and household expenses.
The teenager and her cousin were sexually molested and threatened with deportation if they told anyone about their situation.
They were also denied food and medical care.
When the victim’s employment with the temporary staffing agency was terminated because she was physically unable to work, the defendants sent the victim and her teenage cousin back to Mexico.
The defendants continued to tell the victim that she owed them money for the costs incurred in bringing her to, and harboring her in the United States.
A few years later, Mondragon recruited her two younger brothers, both of whom were juveniles, to travel from Mexico to live with her and Miguel Arce Flores, in the Seattle area.
After the juveniles arrived, they were told they had incurred smuggling debts and had to repay them.
Marbella Sandoval Mondragon took custody of one of the juvenile brother’s identification documents and told him that he would not get the documents back until he had paid his debt in full.