For all that, Cadena faces a maximum sentence of only five years in prison and a fine of $500,000. She'll find out what she gets May 18.
As part of Cadena-Sosa's plea, he and his associates tricked women and girls, some as young as 14 years old, by luring them from Veracruz, Mexico, to the United States with promises of legitimate jobs. After smuggling the women and girls into the U.S., Cadena-Sosa and other members of his crew forced them into prostitution to pay the smuggling debts. If any of the women or girls tried to run away, they faced brutal beatings, sexual assaults, and threats of death, according to the plea. The victims were forced to engage in prostitution 12 hours a day, six days a week, with the proceeds going to the Cadena-Sosa ring.
Although the case was first opened in 1998, Alberto Cadena-Sosa and Carmen Cadena managed to escape the long arm of the law by hiding out on Mexico. But in 2013 and 2014 respectively, the pair was apprehended by Mexican authorities and extradited to the U.S. to get their day in court.
The other members of the ring have already been busted and have either done their time or are still doing it. From the FBI:
Cadena-Sosa's uncle, Rogerio Cadena, who pleaded guilty in 1999 and was sentenced to 15 years; Cadena-Sosa's brother, Abel Cadena-Sosa, who was convicted in Mexico and sentenced to 24 years, and two other brothers, Hugo and Juan Luis Cadena-Sosa--Carmen Cadena's husband--, who pleaded guilty in 2002 and 2008, and were sentenced to five years and 15 years respectively. Six other defendants previously pleaded guilty in federal court in connection with the scheme, and one was convicted in state court for a murder outside a Cadena-run brothel.
According to a 1998 New York Times story, the Cadena-Sosa ring was first busted by the feds that year after an investigation that began in 1996. In the original indictment, 16 people were charged, with six from the Cadena-Sosa family, for smuggling women and girls across the border and forcing them to work in makeshift brothels -- usually in migrant worker camps near cities like Tampa, Orlando, and Fort Myers as well as Lake City and John's Island in South Carolina.
The brothel owners charged johns $20 for sex but gave only $3 to the victims to pay toward the $2,000 smuggling "fee."