New Jersey man receives 10 years for sex trafficking

October 14, 2021 GMT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A New Jersey man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for engaging in sex trafficking, federal prosecutors in North Carolina said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release that Mark Daniel Benavidez, 40, of Elmwood Park, New Jersey, also was ordered on Wednesday to pay $32,800 in restitution to his victims. He pleaded guilty in March to transporting a victim across state lines for prostitution.

Court documents and information presented in court showed Benavidez was arrested in connection with an undercover prostitution sting at a Cary hotel in July 2017.

An investigation showed Benavidez began prostituting one of the victims in 2016 in New Jersey and then recruited a second woman. They traveled to North Carolina where a third victim was recruited, the news release said.

Benavidez abused one victim on a weekly basis, according to the news release, and exploited the drug addictions of the other two, using the promise of drugs to keep them prostituting for him. Benavidez took all the money the victims earned, and the investigation led to storage units in North Carolina and New Jersey where investigators seized more than $34,000.