Illegal immigrant charged with prostituting Hillsborough minor

TAMPA — Federal agents charged an illegal immigrant Tuesday with forcing a developmentally disabled girl to perform sex acts for pay at migrant worker camps across eastern Hillsborough County, according to court records.

Mario Alberto Laguna-Guerrero, 25, is accused of charging migrants $25 in exchange for sexual intercourse with the 17-year-old girl who has an IQ of 58. He is also accused of attempting to recruit the girl's classmates and raping one of them in front of her, the document states.

"… (T)o be blunt, he became her pimp," a special agent with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement wrote.

Laguna-Guerrero is charged with the sex trafficking of a minor and faces a maximum sentence of life in federal prison. He is being held without bond.

Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies arrested Laguna-Guerrero on March 31 on sexual battery and prostitution charges.

During questioning, he told the special agent with a human trafficking task force that he had been dating the girl for about two years and had been sexually active with her since she was 16.

The complaint, filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office, says he had been living with the girl and her mother for about a year. He admitted to acting as a pimp for the girl for the past four months, according to the document.

The girl told authorities she would see up to nine "johns" a night, with Laguna-Guerrero driving her to mobile homes at migrant farm worker camps on Friday and Saturday nights.

In the document, Laguna-Guerrero said he was using the money to repay a debt he owed for being smuggled into the country from Mexico in 2002. Laguna-Guerrero said his smuggler threatened to cut off his fingers if he didn't pay.

However, the document states, Laguna-Guerrero gave inconsistent stories about the debt and how it was to be repaid.

The girl told authorities that Laguna-Guerrero would give her some of the money at the end of each night and would use his share to repair his vehicle. He said he worked picking strawberries to supplement the money the girl made.

The girl said the prostitution started in fall 2009 when Laguna-Guerrero told her it was her fault he lost his job.

She told authorities that he was not violent with her, but would cut himself and tell her it was her fault that he hurt himself. She referred to a wound on Laguna-Guerrero's chest that authorities later confirmed.

The girl also told authorities that Laguna-Guerrero pressured her to recruit her classmates. After attempting to recruit a 16-year-old friend with the mental ability of a second-grader, the girl told authorities Laguna-Guerrero raped the friend in front of her.

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at (813) 226-3374 or srossetter@sptimes.com.

Illegal immigrant charged with prostituting Hillsborough minor 04/13/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 1:22am]

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