Man sentenced to 15 years in federal sex-trafficking case

jkegley@herald-leader.comJuly 25, 2012 

Marco Antonio Flores-Benitez, thought to be the first person in Kentucky convicted of federal sex trafficking charges, was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison, according to a news release from the Office of the U.S. Attorney.

Flores-Benitez was part of an interstate prostitution ring in Lexington that was busted in November by FBI agents and police. Flores-Benitez has been described in court documents as "somewhat of a leader" in the operation, which rotated prostitutes through several states.

Spanish-speaking women were lured with the promise of legitimate work but were forced or persuaded to perform sex acts for money instead, investigators and court documents have said.

Flores-Benitez, 38; Roxana Serna-Olea, 36; Adrian Lezama-Ruiz, 26; and Roberto Salin as-Rivera, 35, were indicted in federal court in March. All have since pleaded guilty, although only Flores-Benitez pleaded guilty to a charged related to human trafficking.

Lezama-Ruiz and Salinas-Rivera are awaiting sentencing on charges that they persuaded women to engage in prostitution, according to the news release. Serna-Olea was sentenced Wednesday to nearly four years on a persuasion charge.

Court documents have said clients paid $30 for 15 minutes of sexual activity, and the women were expected by their "handlers" to have sex with multiple customers a day.

Some of the defendants drove and delivered the prostitutes to customers in Fayette, Woodford, Oldham and Jefferson counties. They also operated a brothel at Cross Keys Drive in Lexington, the news release said.

The women wouldn't stay in one place long; they were rotated to cities including Indianapolis, Nashville and Atlanta, investigators have said.

Under federal sentencing laws, the defendants will have to serve 85 percent of their prison sentences.

Josh Kegley: (859) 231-3197. Twitter: @HLPublicSafety.

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