MUSKEGON, Mich. - A jury Tuesday convicted Richardo Urbina, of Muskegon, on multiple counts related to sex trafficking minors and distributing cocaine.
After six days of trial, Urbina was convicted with three counts of sex trafficking minors; three counts of attempting to sex traffic minors; conspiring to sex traffic minors; sex trafficking an adult by force, fraud or coercion; distributing cocaine; distributing cocaine base; and conspiring to distribute cocaine.
Urbina faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison and a maximum sentence of life.
In May 2015, Urbina, then 54, began recruiting 16 and 17-year-old girls to have sex for money. Urbina gave the girls alcohol and cocaine to make it more likely they would agree to "dance" or give "massages" to make money.
The girls learned the men wanted more than "dancing" or "massages when they were in the room with men who expected them to engage in sex acts. After the girls completed sex acts and received money, Urbina took half of it.
Urbina then recruited Francisco Soto in September 2016 to help him recruit more underage girls. Soto, then 18, befriended and contacted the girls through Facebook, and he would offer to party with them. While partying, Urbina and Soto approached the girls about "dancing" and giving "massages."
Urbina and Soto used Backpage.com to advertise the girls for commercial sex. The jury received over 500 pages of Backpage.com records in evidence. They also used an app that masked their true phone numbers, and the jury received over 4,000 individual messages sent and received through the app, coordinating commercial sex dates.
While on trial, 10 girls testified about Urbina's sexual exploitation of them while they were minors. One woman testified she needed a place to stay and Urbina let her live with him. The first night she stayed with him, he made her have sex for money. When she tried to get away, Urbina hit and choked her.
Urbina also told her she owed him $1,000 because he was making so much money off her. She eventually escaped by booking a hotel room and moving into it while he slept.
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