GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A Grand Rapids man who participated in sex trafficking of teenaged girls in western Michigan, including one who was given cocaine to lower her inhibitions, was sentenced this week to a decade in prison.
Francisco Miguel Soto helped prostitute girls in Kent and Muskegon counties. He admitted to arranging commercial sex dates for a 16-year-old girl who was plied with cocaine and prostituted 20 times.
In addition to prison, U.S. District Judge Janet T. Neff ordered that Soto pay a $5,100 special assessment. He will also have to spend five years on supervised release once he gets out of prison.
Soto, 20, pleaded guilty in January to sex trafficking a minor. A co-defendant, 58-year-old Richardo Urbina, was convicted last month on numerous counts, including sex trafficking. He awaits sentencing.
The pair were charged last year with conspiring to sex
traffic three girls over the span of several months in 2017. Two of the girls
were 16 and one was 15.
The girls were prostituted at homes and motels. Soto and Urbina provided them with housing, food, drugs, alcohol, clothing, cash and condoms, federal court records show.
“Sex trafficking these minor girls involved Soto and Urbina spending months attempting to recruit them,’’ Assistant U.S. Attorney David M. Reust wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “Urbina used Soto to befriend these girls, provide them drugs and eventually encourage them to have sex for money.’’
Soto was also involved in trafficking two other girls and the attempted trafficking of yet another, investigators said.
Soto’s attorney said his client is not a dangerous and violent man, “and society would not benefit from his lengthy incarceration.’’
Soto, who had a “humble upbringing’’ in Grand Rapids, was 16 years old when he started working with Urbina, Soto's lawyer wrote in a sentencing memorandum.
“Mr. Soto would not have been involved in the exploitation of minors had be stayed away from Mr. Urbina,’’ defense attorney Cirilo Martinez wrote. “He was used to lure young ladies to Mr. Urbina and then do his bidding.’’
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.