A Bronx couple caught at a Fort Lee hotel while trafficking an underage girl for sex took guilty pleas in federal court on Thursday.
Richard “Ace” Ortiz, 23, and Gabriella Colon, 19, would have both faced life imprisonment if convicted at trial following Thursday’s please in U.S. District Court in Trenton, authorities said.
Their prison sentences nonetheless will be significant -- and must be served entirely (There's no parole in the federal prison system).
Ortiz and Colon forced the 17-year-old Lancaster, PA girl to have sex with several men at an East Brunswick hotel throughout the month of January last year, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
They brought her from New York to New Jersey and even took photos of her that they posted in an online advertisement for sexual services.
One of the accused johns is a rabbi who’d previously served prison time for assaulting a girl under 13. Charges against him were still pending.
Both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a child in exchange for leniency when U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson sentences Colon on May 13 and Ortiz on May 14.
Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI and detectives with the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office. He also thanked the Fort Lee and East Brunswick police for their assistance.
Handling the case for the government is Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Shawn Barnes of Carpenito’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force/Narcotics Unit in Newark.
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