October 11, 2013 at 6:03 PM CDT - Updated July 22 at 11:00 AM
By JUAN A. LOZANO Associated Press
HOUSTON (AP) - Authorities say they've shut down a sex-trafficking operation in Houston that made at least $12.6 million over more than a decade by using violence to force underage girls and women who are living in the U.S. illegally into prostitution.
Federal, state and local officials have arrested 13 of 14 people who were indicted for their alleged roles in the operation. The 13 who were arrested were set to make their initial appearances in federal court Friday afternoon. The 14th person remains a fugitive.
The arrests took place Thursday night in a coordinated sweep of almost a dozen locations, including several bars.
According to a federal indictment unsealed Friday, the victims were often punched and kicked and locked in rooms while being forced to work as prostitutes.