HOUSTON – A Houston man, earlier this week, was convicted of sex trafficking waitresses at a cantina he operated with his mother.
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According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas, Edgar Botello, 30, pleaded guilty to several sex trafficking crimes as well as possession of child pornography on Monday following a joint investigation involving several law enforcement agencies.
Officials said Botello and his mother, Maria Botello-Morales, ran a cantina together called Puerto Algre, where the two forced several waitresses into having sex with customers.
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During his plea, the 30-year-old admitted to threatening and intimidating victims if they refused. In fact, the women who came forward reported witnessing “violence and weapons at the bar and in the back area where the sex acts occurred.”
“Each described how they had to take customers to the back rooms,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office explained in their press release. “They were given a condom wrapped in a piece of paper towel, and they were to spend fewer than 15 minutes in the room and charge approximately $70. Upon leaving, they had to turn the money over to Botello or the person guarding the room.”
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Law enforcement officers researched Botello’s home on April 2021 and found several weapons in his room as well as a computer with child porn.
He will remain in custody pending sentencing on June 12 but faces life in prison for sex trafficking and up to 10 years for child porn possession.
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His mother, meanwhile, pleaded guilty on January 30 and is still awaiting sentencing.
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