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Fifth defendant sentenced in multi-county prostitution ring

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A driver involved in a multimillion-dollar prostitution ring of more than a dozen Chinese women that operated in a hotel in Camarillo and other businesses was sentenced to more than eight years in state prison.

Juiyin Cui, 64, of Rosemead, appeared Wednesday before Ventura County Superior Court Judge Patricia Murphy. Cui pleaded guilty March 14 to three felony counts of pimping, one count of conspiracy to commit human trafficking and two counts of money laundering. He also admitted to overt acts related to the conspiracy charge.

Murphy sentenced Cui to eight years and eight months in state prison and ordered him to pay $500,000 for the conspiracy charge and $50,000 for the money-laundering counts. Cui also must register as a sex offender, Senior Deputy District Attorney Melissa Suttner said.

Cui is the fifth defendant who has pleaded guilty and been sentenced for involvement in a prostitution operation that solicited customers through advertisements in the website ad-portal Backpage.com.

The ring was discovered after county sheriff’s detectives found an ad that included photos of an Asian female “in sexually provocative clothing and poses” offering services in Camarillo. Detectives said the address was that of the Quality Inn & Suites. (Read full article here)

Dispatcher in human trafficking ring sentenced

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(Photo: PHOTO COURTESY OF VENTURA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE)

A San Gabriel woman who acted as the dispatcher for a prostitution ring that trafficked dozens of female Chinese nationals and used the online classified-ad portal Backpage.com was sentenced to 11 years and four months in state prison.

Defeng Hu, 33, appeared before Ventura County Superior Court Judge Bruce Young on Wednesday for sentencing. Hu pleaded guilty Jan. 19 to one count of conspiracy to commit human trafficking, four counts of pimping, seven counts of money laundering and one count of filing false income tax.

Hu is the fifth defendant to plead guilty in the case. In February 2016, a Ventura County sheriff’s detective located an advertisement on the Backpage.com advertisement portal under the Ventura County section that was labeled “escorts.” The advertisement included photos of an Asian female “in sexually provocative clothing and poses” offering services in a Camarillo hotel, authorities said.

“Hu would take calls from the ‘Johns’ answering the Backpage ads and depending on where the Johns were calling from, she would then call the woman and tell them to go to the hotel and tell them an individual was coming for a job,” said Senior Deputy District Attorney Melissa Suttner.

During a search of Hu’s residence, she tried to flee from law enforcement officers and jumped from a third-story balcony, fracturing her ankle. When she was arrested, detectives found she was carrying $24,000 in cash and various cellphones and ledgers, Suttner said. (Read full article here)

Drivers in prostitution ring plead guilty

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Two Los Angeles County men pleaded guilty Tuesday for their roles as drivers in a multi-million dollar prostitution ring linked to the classified advertisement portal Backpage.com and involving dozens of female Chinese nationals.

Juiyin Cui, 63, and Runan Xia, 33, appeared before Ventura County Superior Court Judge Patricia Murphy for a preliminary hearing, but instead both men pleaded guilty.

Cui, of Rosemead, pleaded guilty to three felony counts of pimping, one count of conspiracy to commit a crime and two counts of money laundering. He also admitted to overt acts related to the conspiracy charge. Cui will be sentenced to eight years and eight months when he appears again in court on April 19, Senior Deputy District Attorney Melissa Suttner said.

Xia pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit a crime and also admitted to the overt act related to the charge. Xia, who had a “minor” role in the prostitution operation, will be sentenced April 18, Suttner said.

Cui and Xia are among five individuals who were arrested in August in connection with the prostitution ring that operated in hotels and motels in Los Angeles, Riverside, Tulare and Ventura counties.

According to court records, the prostitution ring was discovered after local sheriff’s detectives found an advertisement in the Ventura County section of Backpage.com. The ad included photos of an Asian female “in sexually provocative clothing and poses” offering services in Camarillo, authorities said. Detectives said the address was that of the Quality Inn & Suites. (Read full article here)

BACKPAGE.COM SHUTS DOWN ADULT SECTION AMID SEX-TRAFFICKING ACCUSATIONS

by ADMIN
Monday, January 09, 2017 10:38PM

Backpage.com, the classified website that has faced accusations of fostering sex trafficking, has shut down its adult content section, the company announced Monday.

The company has faced criminal charges, lawsuits and a U.S. Senate investigation into allegations that its advertising fosters prostitution and the sexual exploitation of children.

Backpage blamed “unconstitutional government censorship” for forcing it to remove the adult content and said it would continue to fight for its First Amendment Rights.

“As the direct result of unconstitutional government censorship, Backpage.com has removed its Adult content section from the highly popular classified website, effective immediately,” the company said in a written statement.

“For years, the legal system protecting freedom of speech prevailed, but new government tactics, including pressuring credit card companies to cease doing business with Backpage, have left the company with no other choice but to remove the content in the United States.”

Anyone who clicks on the adult sections on the site is now met with the word “CENSORED” in red letters and a request for support to protect internet free speech. (Read full article here)

Camarillo couple arrested for human trafficking

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CAMARILLO, Calif. – A couple is behind bars for allegedly prostituting a 15-year-old teenage girl. It’s unclear if the girl is related to the couple.

Jessica Lynn Stanley, 26, of Simi Valley and Robert Ryan McGraa, 35, or Thousand Oaks, had been staying at a Camarillo motel in the 1600 block of E. Daily Drive when the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office received a tip of the alleged human trafficking.

Investigators say Stanley had posted several escort advertisements under an alias on various websites, such as Backpage.com. During an undercover operation, Stanley allegedly arranged a meeting between the undercover detective and the 15-year-old teen for sex. (Read full article here)

Five arrested after months-long investigation into human trafficking ring

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A human trafficking ring that forced at least 25 Chinese women into prostitution in motels across Southern California, where they earned millions of dollars for their alleged captors, was busted this month and five people were arrested, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

Authorities said they launched a six-month investigation into the network after deputies discovered a potential victim of human trafficking during a prostitution sting at the Comfort Inn in Camarillo. Authorities uncovered evidence at the motel of a larger group operating across the region, Undersheriff Gary Pentis said at a news conference in Thousand Oaks.

“Commercial sex is nothing short of modern-day slavery,” Pentis said, adding that such operations are pervasive. “This is a hideous crime that has an impact on all of us.”

The illicit operation was run much like a corporation, officials said, and the victims took in about $350,000 a month for the organizers.

The alleged ringleader, identified as Hsin Chieh “Jerry” Wang, worked as the network’s dispatcher and took calls from hundreds of men each month who answered sexually explicit ads on backpage.com, Pentis said.

Another suspect … (Read full article here)