NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — An investigation led by Homeland Safety Investigations Norfolk, generally known as HSI Norfolk, and the Hampton Roads Human Trafficking Process Power has resulted in 4 people being indicted on 33 prices, together with human trafficking of people from Central America, benefiting from compelled labor, cash laundering and harboring undocumented noncitizens.
Based on the investigation, Ana Patricia Landaverde, 47, of Williamsburg, Virginia; Jeffrey Dean Vaughan, 64, of Williamsburg, Virginia; and George William Evans, 68, of Midlothian, Virginia engaged in a conspiracy to harbor, transport and profit from using undocumented noncitizens at their industrial laundry enterprise, Northstar Holdings of Virginia, LLC, d/b/a Magnolia Cleansing Providers, LLC.
The defendants allegedly referred potential workers missing U.S. work authorization to a fourth defendant within the case, who allegedly equipped fraudulent identification paperwork similar to everlasting resident playing cards and Social Safety playing cards.
“These indictments are a fantastic instance of what might be achieved when federal, state, and native regulation enforcement businesses work in collaboration,” mentioned Derek W. Gordon, appearing particular agent answerable for HSI Washington, D.C. “We are going to proceed our collaboration with our regulation enforcement companions by the Hampton Roads Human Trafficking Process Power. HSI will work tirelessly to disrupt and dismantle felony organizations like this one as a way to preserve our communities protected from all felony components who would do hurt to our law-abiding residents.”
The investigation additional revealed that between the primary quarter of 2018 and the primary quarter of 2022, the enterprise’ data mirror roughly 121 workers with alleged invalid or mismatched Social Safety numbers, in addition to wage funds of greater than $1.2 million to those workers.
Landaverde, Vaughan and Evans additionally allegedly engaged in human trafficking from Central America and benefited from compelled labor. The investigation alleges that one sufferer was delivered to the USA on the age of 13 and compelled to work nights whereas attending college throughout the day. It additionally alleges that the trio threatened one other sufferer with deportation and bodily violence whereas forcing her to pay hire to reside in a industrial laundry facility the place she lacked entry to a kitchen, bathe or tub.
“HSI Norfolk and our companions within the Hampton Roads Human Trafficking Process Power take allegations of labor exploitation very severely,” mentioned Jim Stitzel, assistant particular agent answerable for HSI Norfolk. “We have now devoted vital assets to those felony investigations and extra importantly, to helping the victims of those heinous crimes. We’re proud to have partnered with the U.S. legal professional’s workplace, the Virginia Legal professional Basic’s Workplace, the Heart for Countering Human Trafficking, and our federal, state and native regulation enforcement companions on this investigation.”
This was an HSI Norfolk-led investigation in cooperation with the Hampton Roads Human Trafficking Process Power. Federal, state and native regulation enforcement companions considerably contributed to the investigation, most notably the Williamsburg Police Division, the York County Sheriff’s Workplace and the James Metropolis County Police Division. The Division of Homeland Safety Heart for Countering Human Trafficking additionally supported the investigation.
Since its inception, the Hampton Roads Human Trafficking Process Power has recognized greater than 300 victims, performed greater than 300 investigations and arrested greater than 150 topics.
“Human trafficking can happen anytime, wherever, oftentimes in plain sight and on this case, in our personal yard,” mentioned Virginia Legal professional Basic Jason Miyares. “I’m extremely pleased with the work that Homeland Safety Investigations Norfolk and the Hampton Roads Human Trafficking Process Power have accomplished in main this investigation.”
The 33-count indictment was unsealed Thursday and charged the 4 people with becoming a member of collectively to defraud and commit offenses towards the USA.
HSI is the principal investigative arm of the Division of Homeland Safety, liable for investigating transnational crime and threats, particularly these felony organizations that exploit the worldwide infrastructure by which worldwide commerce, journey and finance transfer. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 workers consists of greater than 6,800 particular brokers assigned to 225 cities all through the USA, and 93 abroad areas in 56 nations. HSI’s worldwide presence represents the Division of Homeland Safety’s largest investigative regulation enforcement presence overseas and one of many largest worldwide footprints in U.S. regulation enforcement.