PORTLAND, Maine — A New Hampshire man joined his wife in pleading guilty to federal charges for their role in a sex trafficking operation that coerced Chinese women into prostitution in New England.

Shou Chao Li, of Concord, and his wife, Derong Miao, appeared in court Thursday after first being indicted on several charges in 2018, the Portland Press Herald reported.

According to court documents, the couple admitted to renting two Portland properties that were used for commercial sex, and that they were involved in transporting at least four women between New Hampshire and Maine for prostitution.

Miao had pleaded guilty to five counts last month and is awaiting sentencing. Li pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy and four counts of interstate transportation for prostitution.

Li agreed that he would not appeal any sentence shorter than four years and three months. Miao made a similar agreement.

Defense attorney Mingli Chen said he was glad Li decided to face the consequences of his actions and that he would ask for leniency in sentencing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Darcie McElwee declined to answer questions about the case.