Pair jailed on pimping charges
Alleged gang ties. Escort agency employed minors as sex workers
By PAUL CHERRY, The Gazette December 8, 2010 Two men who are alleged to have ties to a street gang have been sentenced to jail for running an escort agency that used minors as sex workers.
During a hearing at the Montreal courthouse yesterday, Quebec Court Judge Jean Falardeau sentenced Edouardo Gutierrez Vargas, 31, of Laval, to a 42-month prison term, and his cousin Eric Rigoberto Vargas Murgas, 30, of Montreal, to 48 months in prison.
The Montreal police Child Sexual Exploitation Unit began investigating the Perfect Paradise escort agency in January 2008, when investigators received information an underage girl was working there. The agency was based in Laval but also operated in Montreal.
Investigators learned that as many as four minors were working for the agency, including a runaway who was 16 at the time.
Gutierrez Vargas and Vargas Murgas were arrested in 2009, and each faced 14 pimp-related charges. Both pleaded guilty in June to three counts each of exercising control over a person to work as a prostitute and living off the avails of prostitution. Both charges carry a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.
They were acquitted on procurement charges when they entered their guilty pleas.
While the men weren't charged with exercising control or living off the avails of minors, the plaintiffs were all under age 18 when they worked for the agency.
But the judge factored in the ages of the three girls the men pleaded guilty to using as prostitutes when determining the sentences.
According to the Quebec business registry, the escort agency was established as an Internet-based company in 2007, and Gutierrez Vargas was listed as one of its associates.
He was known to police before his arrest in the pimping case.
Last year, Gutierrez Vargas and another man were arrested in Laval after a strange and violent kidnapping. Witnesses told the police they saw two men beat another man on Cartier Blvd. after an argument. The assailants used their feet, fists and a hammer to attack the victim, then shoved him into the trunk of a car. The pair who attacked him jumped into the vehicle and drove off.
A witness supplied Laval police with a licence plate number. When investigators went to the address to which the car was registered, Gutierrez Vargas and another man pulled up to the residence in the same car. The trunk of the car was empty but Laval police found the beaten victim at a hospital.
Gutierrez Vargas was charged on April 19, 2009, with assault and forcible confinement. but the charges were dropped one year later.
He still faces a trial in Laval on drug possession charges related to that arrest.