NJ prostitution ‘enforcer’, just 29 years old, will spend life in prison
A 29-year-old New Brunswick man was sentenced Wednesday to life plus 20 years in prison for his violent role in an organized crime operation involving prostitutes in six New Jersey counties.
Murder, assault and burglary were all in a day's work for Wilmer “Charmin” Chavez Romero in his violent role with a network of sex workers, federal prosecutors said.
Chavez Romero was convicted following a two and a half-week trial before U.S. District Judge William H. Walls in Newark federal court.
He was previously convicted of all eight counts of an indictment charging him with racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, and conspiracy to harbor aliens; two counts of using a firearm for a violent crime; and two counts of murder in aid of racketeering.
Chavez Romero served as an enforcer for the "Hernandez Enterprise," which helped unauthorized immigrants enter the country and employed them at brothels throughout Cumberland, Essex, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties, according to an indictment filed in May.
U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said Chavez Romero acted at the direction of Juan Fredy Hernandez-Zozaya, 40, and his girlfriend, Elizabeth Rojas, 37, both of New Brunswick, who oversaw brothels in New Brunswick, Trenton, Orange, Asbury Park, Lakewood, and Bridgeton.
The enterprise used threats and acts of violence – including burglary, assaults, and murder – to expand its territory, stop rival brothels, exact revenge, punish enterprise members and associates who had been disloyal, and silence people they believed were cooperating with law enforcement.
Federal prosecutors said Chavez Romero took part in the murders of two victims during separate robberies, months apart in Trenton in fall 2012 and winter 2013, both at rival brothel houses.
Chavez Romero talked about his role in those murders, as well as beatings, shootings, and other acts of violence during recorded interviews with law enforcement in 2012 and 2014.
With a federal sentence, there is no possibility of parole.
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