- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A 23-year-old Virginia man described by authorities as a leader of a Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, gang was indicted Wednesday in federal court on charges of participating in a Northern Virginia underground prostitution ring involving underage girls.

U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride in Virginia said Rances Ulices Amaya was charged with conspiracy and sex trafficking of a minor and, if convicted, faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison for each sex-trafficking count.

“Sex trafficking is an unconscionable crime that results in a lifetime of trauma for the young victims,” Mr. MacBride said. “Mr. Amaya is the fifth gang member charged in this ongoing investigation by the FBI and the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force, and we are committed to eradicating juvenile sex trafficking from our communities.”

According to court documents, Mr. Amaya, a leader of the Guanacos Lokotes Salvatrucha clique of MS-13, is accused of conspiring with others to recruit young women to work as prostitutes and transporting them throughout Northern Virginia for appointments that Mr. Amaya had arranged with clients.

He is accused of providing the juveniles with alcohol and drugs to facilitate the prostitution scheme, along with remaining with the juveniles during appointments to ensure the clients did not violate the rules he had set, the documents show.

Mr. Amaya, who also is known as “Blue” or “Murder,” also is accused of threatening the girls and physically assaulting them if they did not want to have sex with clients. Authorities said he carried a machete as part of his “security” duties and had sex with the girls.

Investigation of the case was conducted by the FBIs Washington field office, with the assistance of Fairfax County Police Department and the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force. Assistant United States Attorney Zachary Terwilliger is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government.

Founded in 2004, the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force is a collaboration of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies — along with nongovernmental organizations — dedicated to combating human trafficking and related crimes.

• Jerry Seper can be reached at jseper@washingtontimes.com.

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