A 41-year-old Passaic convict already sentenced to 56 years in state prison for murders had a 6½-year federal term tacked on by a judge Wednesday for running a statewide prostitution ring of mostly illegal aliens -- while ordering at least three killings.
Juan Fredy Hernandez-Zozaya already must spend at least 47½ years in state prison before he’ll be eligible for parole.
If he lives until he’s 89 – and makes parole – he’ll then have to complete the entire 6½-year sentence handed down Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler in Newark (There’s no parole in the federal prison system).
The judge cited the acts of violence committed and ordered by Hernandez-Zozaya, as well as his “horrendous” conduct in employing and exploiting women who, as a result of their immigration status, had little choice but to work at the brothels, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
Hernandez-Zozaya was convicted of conspiracy to commit interstate transport for purposes of prostitution and conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens following a one-week trial in federal court in January.
The government said Hernandez-Zozaya led a large-scale prostitution ring that operated throughout New Jersey -- including at brothels in New Brunswick, Trenton, Orange, Asbury Park, Lakewood, and Bridgeton -- from at least March 2011 through September 2014.
Hernandez-Zozaya and his girlfriend, Elizabeth Rojas-Rojas, employed dozens of women and other workers – most of whom were in the country illegally – at the brothels.
Hernandez-Zozaya’s ordered “enforcers” for the business to kill at least three people, Carpenito said.
One of them, Wilmer Chavez Romero, was sentenced to life in prison on March 29 after being convicted of murder, racketeering, assault and firearms offenses while working for Hernandez-Zozaya.
Hernandez-Zozaya was previously convicted in Superior Court in Cumberland County of committing two murders related to the brothel enterprise.
Carpenito credited special agents of Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, with the investigation leading to the conviction and sentencing – both handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Meredith Williams and Melissa Wangenheim of his Criminal Division in Newark.
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