ST. PAUL, Minn. – Maria Candelaria Zambrano Zavala, 26, of Bloomington, and Humberto Rangel-Torres, 50, pleaded guilty this week to sex trafficking of a minor.
According to court documents, beginning in March 2019 through May 2019, Zambrano Zavala began transporting and providing a minor for commercial sex to Rangel-Torres, who was at the time a construction worker residing at a hotel in Bloomington. On at least three occasions, Rangel-Torres arranged for commercial sex acts through Zambrano Zavala and paid Zambrano Zavala or the minor in cash for each commercial sex act.
“These defendants showed no regard for the health and safety of a minor and instead prioritized their own gratification and profit,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Anders Folk. “The commercial sexual exploitation of minors is a horrifying crime and one that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners have zero tolerance for.”
“Apprehending human traffickers who take advantage of children, and rescuing those exploited will always be a top priority for HSI,” said Jamie Holt, acting special agent in charge HSI St. Paul. “HSI and our law enforcement partners, like the Bloomington Police Department, will not relent in our investigations until every trafficker is behind bars and every victim is rescued.”
Zambrano Zavala pleaded guilty to one count of sex trafficking of a minor, and Rangel-Torres pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor. Zambrano Zavala faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
W. Anders Folk, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota and Jamie Holt, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) St. Paul, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Eric C. Tostrud accepted the pleas.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by HSI and the Bloomington Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Manda M. Sertich and Evan B. Gilead are prosecuting the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.