SPRINGFIELD — A second woman has pleaded guilty in federal court to her role in a local sex trafficking conspiracy built on a “stable” of women addicted to heroin.
The sex workers were rarely paid and many were recruited from the women’s jail in Chicopee, according to prosecutors. Nearly all the women were addicted to heroin, affording lead “pimp” William Coleman a vice grip to control them.
Virginia Maldonado, 32, of Springfield, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a single count of conspiracy, one day after Shannon Yelinek, 36, also of Springfield. Yelinek admitted to acting as a recruiter inside the walls of the women’s jail, while Maldonado admitted running the business for a month while Coleman did a short stint behind bars, plus shooting photos of the women for online prostitution ads.
“The victims were typically required to turn over all of their earnings to Coleman and were subject to his tight control over their daily lives. Most of the women were not allowed to keep any of the money they earned, and they were only to obtain the drugs they needed from Coleman. In most cases, the victims were addicted to heroin,” read a statement from Acting U.S. Attorney Nathaniel Mendell.
Coleman previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Both women face a maximum sentence of life in prison, but since both pleaded guilty under deals with prosecutors, it is likely they will serve far less.
Sentencing will take place on June 4 in U.S. District Court.