News Release: United States Attorney Northern District of Florida
October 16, 2014
PANAMA CITY, FLORIDA –Jacobo Feliciano-Francisco, a/k/a “Kiko”, age 32, was sentenced in United States District Court yesterday to spend the remainder of his life in prison after he was convicted of kidnapping, retaliating against a witness, conspiracy, and transportation and of an individual in interstate commerce for prostitution. The sentence was announced by Pamela C. Marsh, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
The female victim in this case had previously cooperated with the FBI after being forced and coerced by others to work as a prostitute between 2009 and 2011. Due to that cooperation, a total of 13 individuals were convicted in Tennessee and Kentucky of various federal sextrafficking and prostitution criminal charges. Following her cooperation with law enforcement, the victim and her family were relocated to Panama City Beach, Florida, out of concern for their safety.
In retaliation for her cooperation as a prior Federal witness, Feliciano-Francisco and others tracked down her location, repeatedly threatened the physical safety of both her and her family, kidnapped her, and transported her to a brothel in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, with the intent that she would be forced back into prostitution. During her kidnapping, Feliciano-Francisco not only verbally threatened and intimidated the victim, but he physically terrorized and humiliated her when he sexually assaulted her. After arriving in Hattiesburg, the victim escaped Feliciano-Francisco and led police back to the brothel where he was arrested.
“Prosecuting human traffickers is a top priority for this U.S. Attorney’s office and the Department of Justice,” said U.S. Attorney Marsh. “Congress has given us strong laws to go after this heinous crime, which is often difficult to find and prove because traffickers enforce silence among their victims through coercion and violence, as happened in this case. Despite those threats, however, the victim showed tremendous bravery in coming forward to help bring this defendant to justice. We commend her for her courage and pledge to continue this important fight against this modern form of slavery.”
This conviction results from an investigation by agents of the FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, and the Hattiesburg Police Department, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Katy Risinger.