A sex slavery ring spanning several Southeastern states operated brothels in Kenner and Baton Rouge and forced at least one woman to have sex with dozens of men in “rural trailer parks” in Louisiana, according to charges detailed in federal court records unsealed this week.
The records, made public in U.S. District Court, offered new details about a sprawling human trafficking case in which federal prosecutors have charged more than three dozen people, including some Louisiana residents.
The documents describe the plight of a Puerto Rican woman who told authorities she had been tricked into working as a prostitute in Louisiana for about two weeks despite begging her handlers to release her.
The woman said she was in a dire financial situation in June when she agreed to work with an acquaintance she had kept up with on Facebook.
The acquaintance, Ana del sur Couvertier, had been posting photos of cash and expensive cars and told the woman “she could make a lot of money” if she would travel to New Orleans, according to an application for a search warrant signed by Special Agent Ioannis Malachias, of Homeland Security Investigations.
The woman said she assumed she would be working in a strip club or as a private dancer and “told del sur Couvertier that she did not want to get involved with anything illegal,” the warrant says. The woman flew to New Orleans in late June and was picked up by Luz Guadalupe-Ortiz, a woman living in Kenner at the time who since has pleaded not guilty to federal conspiracy charges.
The victim told authorities that Guadalupe-Ortiz, known as “La Flaca,” quickly took away her purse, promising to return it after she “finished the week.”
Guadalupe-Ortiz and her boyfriend, identified in the search warrant only as Antonio, then drove the woman to “rural trailer parks,” where she was forced to have sex “with numerous men” at a rate of $40 per 15 minutes.
The woman said she was forced to have sex with about 10 men per day before being handed off to a man named Juan, who drove her to a home off Old Hammond Highway in Baton Rouge. Juan lived at the home with two other defendants in the case, Alba Lucia Blandon and Johan Gomez-Blandon.
In Baton Rouge, the woman had sex with about 10 men per day for a week, seeing the men at the residence as well as “numerous rural locations.” On the weekend, the warrant says, she was taken to a different residence and forced to have sex with about 20 men a day.
The filings do not make clear whether the woman then escaped or was released.
The U.S. Justice Department announced in October that it had arrested people in eight states in connection with the probe dubbed Operation Safe Haven. Among those indicted in federal court in Georgia was Juan Jose Sotelo, an alleged brothel owner who was living in Prairieville.
The authorities said about 15 victims were rescued, including one minor.
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