Muskegon man found guilty of sex trafficking

Muskegon County
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Muskegon man will spend at least 15 years in federal prison after being convicted of sex trafficking minors and distributing cocaine.

On Tuesday, a jury convicted Richardo Urbina of three counts of sex trafficking minors, three counts attempting to sex traffic minors, conspiring to sex traffic minors, sex trafficking an adult by force and three cocaine-related charges.

He is scheduled to be sentenced at 10 a.m. Sept. 23 at a federal courtroom in Grand Rapids. He could be sentenced to life in prison. 

Authorities say Urbina, who was 54 at the time, began recruiting teenage girls to have sex for money. He targeted runaways, who needed money and a place to stay, officials said.

Urbina gave the girls alcohol and cocaine to make it more likely they would agree to “dance” or give “massages” to make money, authorities said.

Investigators say the girls learned the men expected them to engage in sex acts once they were in the room. Afterward, the girls would receive money, and Urbina would take half of it, police said.

In 2016, Urbina recruited then 18-year-old Francisco Soto to help him recruit more underage girls, authorities said.

Officials said Soto befriended the girls by contacting them through Facebook, and he would offer to party with them. While partying, the two approached the girls about “dancing” and giving “massages.”

The two used backpage.com to advertise the girls for commercial sex, and the jury received over 500 pages of website records in evidence, authorities said.

Officials said 10 women testified about Urbina’s sexual exploitation of them while they were minors during the six-day trial.

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