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The federal indictment, unsealed on Thursday, paints a vicious picture of Maria Rojas, aka "Nancy," an alleged ringleader in an international sex trafficking ring that pimped out girls as young as 14 inside a compound on the city's east side.
And it was Rojas who decided which girls worked the bar, who was friends with the pimps, who once held a gun to the belly of a young, pregnant woman and threatened to kill her and her baby.
On Wednesday night, federal agents raided the compound, comprising several buildings and trailers surrounded by a metal fence. They arrested Rojas, her brother and eight other suspects and rescued nine women, including three minors. Attorney Jose Angel Moreno said 14 other women are in custody and are being interviewed to determine whether they are victims or witnesses in the case. Rojas and her brother, Jose Luis Rojas , 38, face federal conspiracy charges in connection with the sex trafficking and harboring illegal immigrants.
Rojas also faces a charge of re-entry after deportation. The arrests by Houston's Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance capped a three-year investigation into the ring, which authorities said started operating here in The alleged smuggler in that case, Gerardo "El Gallo" Salazar , who also was mentioned in Thursday's indictment, is in custody in Mexico awaiting extradition to the U. After a raid of the bars on Clinton Drive, Rojas was deported to Mexico, records show, but she found her way back to the U.
The indictment details the evolution of the ring over more than a decade, charging that it started out recruiting girls and women from Mexico with promises of work in restaurants in the U. By , the ring had shifted tactics, said Assistant U.