St. Charles police, Kane County State's Attorney charge 5 with human trafficking felonies

ByCate Cauguiran and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Friday, July 21, 2023
5 charged with human trafficking in Kane County
Five people have been charged with multiple felonies in relation to human trafficking for the purposes of prostitution in Kane County, officials said Thursday.

ST. CHARLES, Ill. (WLS) -- Five people have been charged with multiple felonies in relation to human trafficking for the purposes of prostitution in Kane County, officials said Thursday.

St. Charles Police Chief James Keegan said his department launched a human trafficking investigation after they discovered a brothel operating on the Near West Side of St. Charles in early spring 2023.

St. Charles police and the Kane County State's Attorney announced human trafficking charges related to a large scale prostitution syndicate.

Keegan said his investigation revealed the brothel was part of a larger criminal enterprise that was also operating in Chicago, Aurora, Elgin, South Elgin, Hanover Park and unincorporated Palatine.

Wednesday morning, seven women were taken into protective custody and then moved into transitional housing as a result of the investigation. One of the women was taken to a local hospital for treatment and subsequently released, Keegan said.

"These subjects knowingly profited from prostitution by arranging or offering to arrange a situation in which a person may practice prostitution by procuring a location and then transporting them to that location and advertising those women's clients for the purposes of commercial sexual activity," Keegan said.

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Police said the women were all victims of human trafficking. All are over the age of 18, with their ages ranging from their early 20s to their early 30s. Police said none of the victims are minors. They are all from different parts of South America, police said.

Daniel Hurtado, 26, of Elgin; Christian Hurtado, 27; of Elgin; Martha Hurtado-Hernandez, 57, of Chicago; Rigoberto Parra, 46, of Aurora; and Hector Briseno, 54, of Chicago were arrested and charged with numerous felonies in connection with the investigation, police and the Kane County State's Attorney said. Two of the defendants are brothers, police said.

They are charged with multiple felony counts of involuntary servitude, trafficking in persons and promoting prostitution. The charges carry sentences up to 30 years in prison, officials said.

Neighbors said in the early morning hours of Wednesday, there was heavy police activity in the area. Suzi Smithey said her roommate was walking by as police moved into an apartment along the block.

"He saw a bunch of police some with ski masks on and guns drawn and them bum rushing the apartment," she said. "I would never think that it was sex trafficking ring. We have grandbabies here, we have children that play here."

Police said the evidence gathered in their investigation found each of the women was brought into the United states to be victimized and exploited as part of a larger criminal syndicate dealing in human trafficking for the purposes of forced sex work.

The Kane County States Attorney's office alleges the suspects physically restrained the victims and threatened them if they did not comply.

The Kane County State's Attorney said a special bond hearing was held for the defendants Thursday. All are being held on $5 million bond.

They're next due in court July 28.