This story is wild from start to end.
A Florida woman has pleaded guilty to smuggling a Mexican woman across the border, into the US. The Mexican woman was given 100 pesos for food, and a bus ticket to get from her home in Guadalarajara, Mexico, to 47-year-old Esthela Clark’s home in Florida.
The young woman thought she was agreeing to be a pregnancy surrogate, and would be returning to her home afterwards with a few thousand dollars. However, what she actually got was an entirely different story.
But not long after the woman reached Clark’s home in Jacksonville on a Sunday in December 2012, things seemed much different than promised. For more than two years, the woman – known in court documents only as “Y.L.” – was held captive in a small apartment, where federal authorities allege she was used as free labor, fed only beans and forced to sleep on the dining room floor.
Clark would allegedly engage in sexual intercourse with her boyfriend – then extract his semen from condoms and try to inseminate the woman using a syringe.
“Clark would instruct Y.L. to lie on pillows with her legs pointed in the air, naked from the waist down, and stay in that position for 20 minutes for the procedure to ‘take,’ ” according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court.
When that did not work, the complaint alleges, Clark became physically abusive.
Clark was indicted last year on nine charges, including “alien smuggling,” involuntary servitude and sex trafficking.
She pleaded guilty this week to forced labor, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in the Middle District of Florida. As part of a plea agreement, the other eight charges were dismissed.
Clark faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. Her sentencing hearing is set for June 28.
Her attorney, Thomas Bell, said the facts in the case have been “grossly exaggerated” and “we expect to have evidence at the sentencing hearing that will mitigate the circumstances of the crime to which she admitted.”
Bell said Clark’s boyfriend, who was identified in the criminal complaint as Ronald Castellanos, was deported to Central America before……