Connecticut gang pleads guilty to human trafficking

Federal officials arrested numerous defendants linked to a sprawling trafficking ring in Connecticut that brought at least six laborers from Central America to use as domestic servants in their homes in Winsted, Rockville and West Hartford, officials said on Friday. The workers were made to work long hours in less than favorable conditions while they were paid just a few dollars for those hours, officials said. Their alleged pimp, Jayme Robert, of Hamden, Connecticut, and Henry Diego Llanes of New Haven, Connecticut, were both charged with conspiring to promote and transport illegal aliens to work in the United States. Anthony Thierry Esparza-Palma of Rockville was charged with harboring and harboring unlawful immigrants in violation of section 1375 of Title 8 of the U.S. Code, Immigration and Naturalization Service Sec. 21204. The investigation into the ring, known as a dark house, began in 2017 when one of the former foreign laborers filed a complaint with the state Department of Labor. In addition to the illegal workers, many of whom were in their 30s, federal prosecutors also charged that Roger Pochianko, of Winsted, was the ringleader and initial distributor of the human trafficking rings. According to court records, Pochianko was arrested in November 2017 for failing to file tax returns and booked in lieu of $10,000 bond. Another alleged trafficker, Edwin Caceres, was arrested earlier this month and appeared in U.S. District Court in Hartford on Thursday. The cases against all the men are currently under seal, according to an ICE spokesperson. The dark house operation is one of at least two labor trafficking investigations in Connecticut that were made public Friday. Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it had arrested three alleged recruiters and a business owner from the Dominican Republic who were targeting undocumented farm workers with promises of well-paying jobs in the country. That case, unsealed in federal court in Bridgeport, charged 24-year-old Manny Julio Lopez, 39-year-old Mauricio Salazar, and 30-year-old Rolando Salazar with conspiracy to recruit, recruit, harbor, harbor, and employ undocumented aliens as domestic workers.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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