A self-described "apostle" of an Ormond Beach ministry called En Fuego for Jesus was sentenced to life in federal prison Tuesday for trafficking children for sex, the state attorney's office said.
Luis E. Morales, 58, the founder of En Fuego for Jesus ministry, also was ordered to pay more than $35,000 in restitution to his victims.
A co-defendant and "prophet" of the ministry, Rebeca Rivera, 28, of Hartford, Connecticut, received 15 years in federal prison for aiding and abetting the child sex trafficking.
Morales and Rivera were convicted in November 2012. According to evidence presented at their trial, Morales transported a 12-year-old ministry member from Florida to Connecticut for sex in November 2009. Rivera recruited and encouraged the minor to have sex with Morales. A year later, Morales took a 13-year-old ministry member from Arizona to Florida to the Virgin Islands with the intent to have sex with the minor.
Rivera also was ordered to pay $31,030 in restitution to her victim.
The case was investigated as part of a local, state and federal initiative called Project Safe Childhood to combat child sexual exploitation.