Posted: Tuesday, September 24th 2013 at 4:27pm
Man to plead guilty in human trafficking case
By The Associated Press
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- A man arrested as part of a multistate kidnapping investigation will plead guilty to transporting a woman across state lines for prostitution, federal court records say.
Ruperto Moncillo Flores and Jacobo Feliciano-Francisco were arrested June 27 after a distraught woman walked into a police department in Hattiesburg, Miss., and said she had been abducted in Panama City Beach, Fla.
The woman had been a witness in a prior human trafficking case, which led to numerous convictions in Tennessee and Kentucky.
Flores, of Lawrenceville, Ga., was arrested as part of the investigation into the kidnapping, but a federal grand jury indicted him on a charge of violating the Mann Act for transporting a different woman across state lines for prostitution. That woman was also found during the kidnapping investigation. Flores is not charged with the Florida abduction.
Flores' lawyer, Wesley Broadhead, said Monday in a court filing in U.S. District Court in Hattiesburg that Flores intends to plead guilty in the case.
Broadhead had no comment when contacted Tuesday.
Feliciano-Francisco, also known as Uriel Castillo-Ochoa, is charged in U.S. District Court in Panama City, Fla., with kidnapping the former witness. He pleaded not guilty on Aug. 12 to five charges, including kidnapping and retaliating against a witness.
His attorney, Maria Dykes, did not immediately respond to a phone message Tuesday.
Authorities say the victim was in her yard in Florida when Feliciano-Francisco and an unidentified man forced her into a car and drove to Feliciano-Francisco's house in Hattiesburg. Investigators say Feliciano-Francisco sexually assaulted the victim and planned to force her to work as a prostitute in Louisiana.
Feliciano-Francisco called Flores that day and asked him to take a woman from Hattiesburg to Louisiana for the purpose of prostitution, court records say. Flores had already picked up another woman in Atlanta that day was going to take her to Louisiana as well, according to court records.
The kidnapping victim escaped through a bathroom window that evening and went to the Hattiesburg Police Department.
Police went to the house and arrested Feliciano-Francisco. Flores was arrested on Interstate 59 in Jones County, Miss.
The other woman found during the investigation told police that Flores brought her from Georgia to Mississippi and that they were ultimately headed for Louisiana, where she would work as prostitute, court records say. That led to his indictment on the Mann Act charge.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Mike Parker ordered Flores held without bond, saying he has no real ties in the United States and that his wife and family are in Mexico.
The FBI released a sketch of another suspect in the kidnapping in August, but it wasn't immediately clear if that man had been arrested as of Tuesday.
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