Three El Paso men were sentenced to federal prison on Thursday for their roles in a sex trafficking scheme involving underage girls.
According to a news release, Khalil S. Maxwell, 22, led the ring in El Paso from March 2015 through October 2016.
Officials say Maxwell used physical violence to intimidate girls ages 13 to 17 to engage in commercial sex acts for money.
According to the release, Maxwell enlisted Daniel Chavez, 28, and Raymundo Nettles, 21, to rent hotel rooms and drive the girls to hotels and other locations to perform the sex acts.
In February, investigators say Maxwell pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of children by force, fraud, or coercion and one substantive count of sex trafficking of children.
Chavez and Nettles also pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge earlier this year.
“While I am proud of our prosecutors and law-enforcement agents for delivering justice in this case, we need to do more as a society to prevent this kind of abuse in the first place,” U.S. Attorney John F. Bash said.
A federal judge sentenced Maxwell to 25 years in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release.
Chavez was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 10 years of supervised release, while Nettles received a nine-year sentence and 10 years of supervised release.
Each of the men was also ordered to pay a $5,000 special assessment under the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.
“These sentences assure that this heinous sexual predator and his accomplices will not prey on any more girls for a long, long time,” the HSI El Paso Special Agent in Charge Staton said. “It also serves as a sobering warning to those engaged in the sex trafficking of minors: HSI will continue to work relentlessly with its law enforcement partners to identify these dangerous offenders and bring them to justice.”