Two Queens men have been indicted by a Queens County grand jury for allegedly sex trafficking the same two teenage girls between November 2021 and February 2022, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Thursday, March 17.
Mario Serrano and Shaquille Lopez, both 23, were both arraigned on March 16 before Queens Supreme Court Justice David Kirschner on an indictment charging them with sex trafficking of a child, promoting prostitution and endangering the welfare of a child, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.
According to the charges, Serrano, of Fresh Meadows, and Lopez, of Corona — acting independently of one another — allegedly drove the 13-year-old and 16-year-old victims to various hotels where they had rented rooms and left the underage girls there to engage in sex for money with customers. The older teen collected the cash and allegedly gave the proceeds to Serrano and Lopez, the charges state.
According to Katz, Lopez was an an ex-boyfriend of the 16-year-old victim.
On Feb. 2, 2022, Lopez allegedly drove the girls to the Flushing Hotel and paid for a room before leaving the teens there to have sex in exchange for money with male customers, Katz said. The next day, an undercover police officer responded to one of the many online advertisements regarding the two teenagers. The undercover officer then went to the hotel and made a verbal agreement with the 13-year-old for sex in exchange for money. Other officers moved in and rescued both girls from the Flushing Hotel room, according to Katz.
“The victims in this case were just 13 and 16 years old when these two defendants allegedly offered the girls for sex in online advertisements and then lined their own pockets with the cash the two teens were paid to have sex. Both men are now charged with very serious crimes for their alleged actions,” Katz said.
Serrano and Lopez are set to return to court on April 4. They each face up to 25 years in prison, if convicted, Katz said.