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Houston cantina operator sentenced to life imprisonment for leading international sex-trafficking ring

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HOUSTON — The 68-year-old operator of a cantina on Houston's East End who was accused of running an international sex-trafficking ring has been sentenced to life imprisonment after her convictions.

Hortencia "Tencha" Medeles-Arquello was sentenced in a Houston federal court on Wednesday for her convictions after a 10-day trial last spring. A dozen women testified to being pressed into prostitution at the Medeles cantina, Las Palmas II, after being enticed, seduced or threatened from their home countries.

According to trial evidence, Tencha made more than $1.6 milion over 19 months by using the upper floor of her cantina as a bordello.

Medeles was one of 14 defendants named in the seven-count indictment. Her co-defendants have all pleaded guilty to charges.

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