TULSA, Okla. - The first victim in this case was smuggled into the United States from Mexico more than eight years ago.
After arriving in Atlanta, she was beaten, threatened and forced into prostitution.
For the next seven years, the victim would be trafficked in at least 10 other states.
That's until she was rescued in Tulsa and six people were arrested.
Monday and Tuesday each one was sentenced on human-trafficking charges.
After their sentences were announced by the attorneys, investigators revealed the horrific details that started and ended this case.
The case was dubbed “Operation Poker Chip” because poker chips were given to the customers who paid a “caretaker” to have sex with a sex trafficking victim.
The customer then turned in the poker chip to the victim.
The sex traffickers or “caretakers” collected the poker chips at the end of the day to keep track of the number of clients.
Authorities say the victim who sparked the investigation moved to Tulsa in January, 2012.
The victim was pregnant and in poor health due to the abuse she was suffering at the hands of her traffickers.
The woman and her son were able to escape from her captors years ago, but was recognized by a trafficker in Houston and re-captured.
Once in Tulsa, she was eventually able to get her hands on a cell phone. But, the only number she knew was to an investigator in Atlanta.
Although the victim was never told where she was staying or allowed to go outside, she was able determine her latest Tulsa address from a local pizza flyer mailed to the apartment.
Investigators asked her to confirm her location putting a black high-heeled shoe on the window sill of the apartment.
Sheriff’s deputies got a warrant to search the apartment on January 19th, 2012.
As a result of the search warrants, information was developed regarding additional brothel locations in Oklahoma City and Kansas City.
The investigation revealed that the organization was responsible for coordinating the movement of sex trafficking victims in multiple states.
Investigators identified Juan Rosales-Garza and Gloria Giammalva, a married couple, as leaders of the sex trafficking organization that was operating in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee.
They also tracked down Piedad Currea-Garcia as a leader within the organization.
Following are the sentences that were handed down over two days by U.S. District Judge James H. Payne:
- Juan Rosales Garza, aka “Fernando,” pled guilty March 28, 2012, was sentenced Monday to a term of imprisonment for 135 months; to pay restitution of $18,340 and $3,780 to pay jointly and severally with his co-defendants and $100 special monetary assessment.
- Sermaias Samuel Sanchez Ajin, pled guilty March 28, 2012, was sentenced Monday to time served (approximately 13 months); $3,780 restitution to pay jointly and severally with his co-defendant’s and $100 special monetary assessment.
- Antonio Felix Velasquez-Lopez, aka “Tony,” pled guilty April 24, 2012, was sentenced Monday to a term of imprisonment for 87 months; $1,530 restitution and $100 special monetary assessment.
- Israel Velasquez-Ramirez, aka “Marcos,” pled guilty April 11, 2012, sentenced Tuesday to a term of imprisonment for 18 months; $420 restitution and $100 special monetary assessment.
- Piedad Garcia, pled guilty August 7, 2012, was sentenced Tuesday to a term of imprisonment for 24 months; $6,580 restitution; $200,000 money judgment and $100 special monetary assessment.
- Gloria N. Giammalva, aka “Diana,” pled guilty August 8, 2012, was sentenced Tuesday to a term of imprisonment for 21 months; $18,340 restitution jointly and $3,780 jointly with other co-defendant’s and a $100 special monetary assessment.