12/15/07 -- Tennessee - A man admitted this week in a federal courtroom to luring two juvenile girls into the United States under false pretenses and forcing them into prostitution in Memphis and Nashville.
Juan Mendez pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of commercial sex trafficking and now faces up to life in prison.
Mendez admitted during his plea hearing that the girls entered the United States from Mexico believing they would be restaurant workers. Instead, they were forced to work at brothels in Memphis and Nashville.
According to the original criminal complaint filed against Mendez last year, he was accused of beating and raping one of the girls and keeping the money she made as a prostitute.
Mendez and his partner, Cristina Andres Perfecto, were charged last year after a series of raids and the arrests of several men for running brothels.
In all, nine defendants have pleaded guilty in a case that involves charges of child sex trafficking, conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens and conspiracy to commit money laundering.