The boyfriend of a Sylmar woman accused of enslaving a 9-year-old girl she allegedly paid to have smuggled from El Salvador pleaded no contest Monday to two misdemeanors and is expected to be deported.
Estrada Melvin Sandoval, 41, and his live-in girlfriend, Dora Alicia Valle, 51, were charged last April with one count each of human trafficking and slavery.
Prosecutors said the couple forced the young girl to work for them for two years, working four days a week at Valle’s Costa Del Sol restaurant in Pacoima and cleaning the couple’s Sylmar home.
Both counts against Sandoval were dismissed after a preliminary hearing in July, but he was ordered to stand trial on a charge of lewd act upon a child. Today, Sandoval pleaded no contest to misdemeanor counts of false imprisonment and battery in a deal negotiated with prosecutors.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Craig Mitchell immediately sentenced him to one and a half years jail time, the maximum possible sentence.
Sandoval has been jailed since his arrest April 15, 2014. With credit for time served and good behavior, he has more than completed his sentence. But federal officials have an immigration hold on the defendant.
“Our understanding is that he will be deported,” District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Jane Robison said.
Meanwhile, Valle still faces charges of human trafficking and slavery, according to the District Attorney’s Office. A pretrial hearing is set for June 9.
If convicted as charged, Valle could face more than 12 years in prison.
— City News Service