Day 2 of 2-Day Sentencing Hearing
SAN JOSE, Calif. – The leader of the human trafficking ring who sold the sexual services of adult women and at least three minor girls across multiple states was sentenced to 40 years in Federal Court today.
“He may walk out of custody as an old man, he may not,” Judge Beth Labson-Freeman said to the audience regarding convicted child sex trafficker Ariel Guizar-Cuellar, 42, acknowledging that her ruling is “virtually a life sentence” for him.
Guizar-Cuellar braced himself on a table, his head sinking lower and lower as he received his sentence.
Nearly seven-years-ago, Guizar-Cuellar pled guilty to multiple felony human trafficking charges including: Conspiracy to Commit Sex Trafficking of Children, Sex Trafficking of Children, and Sexual Exploitation of Children. This after he was arrested at a Ramada Inn less than a mile from Disneyland in Anaheim, California. A 15-year-old girl and two, 19-year-olds were rescued that day.
Today the victim’s families are finally getting some justice. Mothers and family members of two child victims were in court to hear the ruling. One of the victims, identified as BM, passed away the year before, while awaiting this sentencing. Her mother sat quietly, tears in her eyes while working a tissue in her hands and listening to the sentence.
In addition, the victims turned perpetrators, co-defendants Araceli Mendoza and Alyssa Anthony were in court. Co-defendant Jocelyn Contreras, one of the mothers of Guizar-Cuellar’s children, was not in attendance.
Shortly before Judge Beth Labson Freeman shared her ruling, she asked Guizar if he had anything he wanted to say. He said in-part:
“The victim’s families exposed me for what I was doing and I regret everything. I am ashamed of myself. To anyone who seen the news articles, I’m so sorry. I destroyed my family, my victims families, I destroyed my codefendants, families, so many familes,” Guizar-Cuellar said.
“I don’t know if it’s going to help, 10 years, 20 years, 30 years… I’ll go wherever you send me. I want to do what I can to prevent these things from happening again. I can’t say more,” Guizar-Cuellar said.
Shortly after his statement the prosecutor representing the child and adult victim’s AUSDA Marissa Harris approached the judge saying she was recommending the maximum sentence for Guizar-Cuellar: Life Imprisionment.
“There are several aggravating factors that support this recommendation. He was the unuquestioned leader and organizer, he called the shots, he personally recruited, he chose locations, he directed the others of how to act and what to charge. He used drugs to control and entice his victims. There is extensive evidence of his violence. These are people who were threatened with guns, irons, they were slapped, shoved, hit, sometimes in front of their children. He burned Anthony with a hot drug pipe, Harris said motioning to the co-defendant.
Co-defendants Mendoza and Anthony both started stobbing and nodding their heads yes.
“Some of these women were marked with his tattoos…two of the victims tried to kill themselves. He took videos of them being abused and raped. These videos are an enduring record of child abuse. BM is now deceased, so she will not have an opportunity to change her life. Her legacy is the child pornography and sex acts he made her commit. The case is the stuff of nightmares,” Harris said.
“He’s left behind him a trail of broken people, broken women, children and families. Asking for a sentence at the top of his guidelines is well-earned by his conduct. We need to demonstrate to everyone that this conduct will never be tolerated in any civilized society. Not now, not ever,” Harris said.
Judge Beth Labson-Freeman ruled that he will spend the next 40 Years in Federal Prison.
“Mr, Guizar, I can only hope that the reflection on what you have done wrong that you have told me about today, will be the beginning of a new life for you, even though you will likely be in prison for the rest of your life, it doesn’t mean that you in your soul have to be the horrendous person you’ve been in the past. I hope you find the benefit of being a better person… of having empathy for others… I know this sentence is virtually a life sentence for you. I hope that hope comes from inside your heart…and this time in prison is your punishment, which I think is just. I do not condemn people, I only condemn crimes committed. I do wish you the best,” Judge Labson-Freeman said.
The Court Marshalls then escorted Guizar-Cuellar, ankles-shackled and wearing a red jumpsuit, out of the courtroom.
After a short break, co-defendant Araceli Mendoza was also asked to approach the judge for sentencing.
Judge Labson-Freeman sentenced her to 10 years in Federal Prision; however she was allowed to return home under the condtion that she surrenders voluntarily on January 9th, 2023, No later than 2pm.