A Houston grand jury has returned a superseding indictment adding more federal charges against two women allegedly involved in an organization that trafficked Central American females into the United States and compelled their service at Houston area bars and restaurants through force, fraud and coercion, United States Attorney Don DeGabrielle and Assistant Attorney General Wan Kim, Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, announced today.
Olga Mondragon, 45, and Maria Fuentes, 35, and six co-defendants were originally indicted on December 12, 2005, in a two-count indictment that accused them all of engaging in conspiracies to recruit, smuggle and harbor illegal aliens in the United States and holding the aliens in conditions of peonage. The other six defendants accused in the original indictment have been convicted for their roles in the trafficking organization and are awaiting sentencing.
On Wednesday, October 25, 2006, a federal grand jury returned a 19-count indictment, which accuses Olga Mondragon, and Maria Fuentes, jointly with Forced Labor Conspiracy, and Harboring Illegal Aliens. Olga Mondragon is also charged individually with seven counts of Forced Labor relating to seven Central American females, and two counts of Alien Smuggling. Maria Fuentes is charged individually with seven counts of Forced Labor relating to seven different Central American females. All of the Central American females were allegedly recruited and illegally smuggled into the United States, then forced to labor at Houston area bars and restaurants owned and/or operated by the defendants or coconspirators by means of threats of serious harm and physical restraint and the abuse of the legal process.
Arraignment of both defendants on the new charges is set for November 1, 2006, at 10:00 a.m. Olga Mondragon is presently free on bond. Maria Fuentes is detained pending trial.