A federal judge sentence a 68-year-old brothel madam to life in prison for operating a prostitution ring and sex trafficking of undocumented minors under 14.
By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
January 22, 2016
Houston, Texas – On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge David Hittner for the Southern District of Texas sentenced Hortencia Médeles Agüello, 68, aka, Raquel Medeles Garcia, Raquel Medeles Garcia or “Tencha,” a U.S. Citizen to life in prison for felony convictions in April 2015 for conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, conspiracy to harbor aliens, aiding and abetting to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering in the Houston area.
Agüello operated Las Palmas Cantina II (bar) where she had 17 rooms in the second level of the bar. Within 19 months, she made $1.6M and charged $20 per room that included condoms and $500.00 per hour with undocumented immigrant female minors under 14 forced by pimps into prostitution, according to the federal indictment.
Argüello operated the prostitution ring for 20 years. Twelve female victims who were forced into prostitution testified against Argüello, which other victims testified that they were forced into the sex trafficking ring for the last 13 years.
In addition, 15 real properties and other assets for a value of about $2.5 million will be forfeited to the United States having been found to have been purchased with sex trafficking proceeds. The funds will be used to make restitution to the victims of this horrible crime, according to U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson for the Southern District of Texas.
Magidson in a press release says, that evidence at trial indicated that Tencha made more than $1.6 million in a 19-month period by supplying the upper floor of her cantina for prostitution. The evidence further revealed that many of the prostitutes were either minors or forced to engage in sex acts at the defendant’s bar. The jury heard that Tencha had engaged in harboring illegal aliens, many who were forced into prostitution for more than 13 years.
Another defendant named in the indictment, Alfonso Diaz-Juarez, 48, aka, “Poncho,” a Mexican national has fled Texas to avoid prosecution and is wanted by tye FBI in connection with the case. A $50,000 dollar reward has been offered for any information leading to Diaz-Juarez arrest and conviction.
Other co-defendants pleaded guilty to helping Tencha keep track of the monies she made, including investing it in properties she purchased in the Houston area.
Abel Médeles, 67, aka, “Chito,” Tencha’s brother, operated the Las Palmas II parking lot. It was part of his job to notify his co-conspirators inside the bar of any law enforcement presence he observed in order for his co-conspirators to be able to conceal from law enforcement the illegal activities in the Las Palmas II. Similarly, on at least one occasion, Odelia Hernández, 47, Tencha’s sister, told co-conspirators to lock the doors when she realized law enforcement was coming.
Chito was sentenced to 55 months in prison and ordered to pay a $2,000 fine, while Hernández received a sentence of 66 months in prison and must pay a $1,500 fine.
Eduardo Guzmán Gonzales,33, aka, Miguel Rojas or “El Pantera” and Alberto Mendez Flores, 27, aka, “La Ardilla,” managed the bar. They paid Tencha $20,000 each week out of the money received from the operation of the Las Palmas II and kept all the monies received in excess of that amount. Both men received sentences of 88 months each in federal prison.
Jose L. Uraga, 36, aka, “Wicho,” provided false/fraudulent identifications to employees, to include females working at Las Palmas II and was sentenced to 28 months in prison. Jorge Antonio Teloxa-Barbosa, 31, aka, “Eli,” testified at trial to his part in the conspiracy. He also managed the bar with Guzmán and Mendez and paid Tencha $20,000 each week out of the money received from the operation of Las Palmas II, keeping all the monies received in excess of that amount. He received a sentence of 37 months.
Graciela Médeles Ochoa, 37, Tencha’s daughter, assisted Tencha in counting the proceeds obtained from Las Palmas II. She also negotiated cashier’s checks for her mother and sister, Delia Diaz, 51. The money used to obtain the cashier’s checks came from the sex trafficking violations occurring at Las Palmas II. Ochoa, who also testified about her mother’s unlawful conduct, was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Diaz received 71 months in prison for money laundering. Another of Tencha’s daughters, Diana Médeles García, 50, aka, Diana García Marquez testified that her mother had been running brothels since she was 13-years-old. She received 21 months in prison for aiding and abetting to harbor illegal aliens.
Guadalupe Valdez Lugo, 58, aka, “Lupe” worked as a manager at Las Palmas II, overseeing the female workers as well as the regular employees. She also testified at trial about Tencha’s unlawful conduct and received a sentence of 25 months in proson as well as a $5,000 fine.
Another of Tencha’s sisters, Lilia Médeles Cerda, 66, aka, “Lilly,” received a sentence of 52 months in prison for conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens. Talat Crippin, 27, aka, “Chacho,” who was married to one of Tencha’s granddaughters pleaded guilty to being a lookout for Tencha’s brothel and received 41 months in prison.
David García, 46, Tencha’s son, was convicted of aiding and abetting to harbor illegal aliens and will be sentenced in February.