By Melissa Quinn
A federal judge sentenced Marcos Sanchez Hernandez to three years behind bars on Friday for shepherding prostitutes across the Mid-Atlantic, including Alexandria, from 2005 until last summer.
Hernandez, also known as Marquito, pled guilty in October. He admitted transporting more than 100 women to engage in sex, selling their bodies in 10- to 15- minute intervals for $30.
“For years, Sanchez Hernandez ran a sex trafficking ring that reached into our communities here in Virginia and out to our neighboring states,” said U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride after the sentencing hearing. “Today, he learned what we hope other sex traffickers are rapidly discovering – sex trafficking is not a viable business enterprise in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and those who engage in it will face lengthy prison time when caught.”
Hernandez, an illegal immigrant who lived in Riverdale, Md., transported the women throughout Fairfax County, Prince William County, Alexandria, Arlington, Newport News, Norfolk and Virginia as well as parts of Maryland, Delaware and Washington, D.C.
Hernandez became the prostitution ring’s leader in 2010, training an employee on driving routes and how to evade law enforcement. He spread word of his operation by handing out business cards at Spanish restaurants, check cashing stores, construction sites and day laborer sites. Profits were shipped to the enterprise’s former leader in Mexico.
The Transnational Gang Unit of Homeland Security Investigations led the case.