Mexican pimp Hugo Hernandez-Velazquez, 45, ran a sex trafficking network in the United States for decades, local media reported. Prosecutors said Hernandez-Velazquez and his brothers lured women into prostitution through false promises of a better life. At least six women in Mexico were offered romantic relationships before they were kidnapped.

The victims were held against their will and were banned from contacting their families. They were then smuggled into the United States, where they were transported to brothels and other locations. The sex trafficking network covered 16 states.

Prosecutors say that when the women tried to escape, they were viciously beaten, while their families received threats of violence.

“The conduct of the organization was incredibly violent and transnational in scope”, wrote Assistant US Attorney Margaret Lee in the detention memo. Along with his family, the defendant operated a business of exploiting and abusing women.

According to court papers, if women became pregnant, Hernandez-Velazquez and his siblings forced them to get abortions.

If convicted, he will face a minimum of 15 years in prison. His lawyer has not commented on the matter yet.