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‘Mastermind’ of prostitution ring pleads guilty

by ADMIN

The “mastermind” of a multimillion-dollar prostitution ring who trafficked dozens of female Chinese nationals and used the online classified-ad portal Backpage.com pleaded guilty Thursday.

Hsin Chieh “Jerry” Wang, 40, of Los Angeles, appeared before Ventura County Superior Court Judge Bruce Young for an early disposition conference when he decided to plead guilty to 11 felony counts, including conspiracy to commit a crime of human trafficking, pimping and money laundering.

Wang, who was initially facing 28 criminal counts, will be sentenced to 13 years when he appears in court Feb. 16, Senior Deputy District Attorney Melissa Suttner said. The remaining counts will be dropped at the sentencing.

Wang and four others were arrested Aug. 4 after a six-month investigation into an operation that forced 28 Chinese women into a prostitution ring at various motels throughout the state, including the Comfort Inn in Camarillo.

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 advertisement 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)

Woman sentenced in prostitution ring case

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A Covina woman charged in connection with a human trafficking ring that operated in Ventura County and other areas throughout California was sentenced Tuesday.

Yiwen Wang, 43, appeared before Ventura County Superior Court Judge Bruce Young. Wang had pleaded guilty Dec. 6 to three counts of felony money laundering and one count of tax evasion.

Authorities arrested Wang, her brother Hsin Chieh “Jerry” Wang, 40, and three others on Aug. 4 after a six-month investigation into an operation that allegedly forced 28 Chinese women into a prostitution ring at various motels throughout the state that included the Comfort Inn in Camarillo.

Yiwen Wang was facing a maximum sentence of nine years in county jail for various charges but was instead sentenced to three years and four months because of her plea, Senior Deputy District Attorney Melissa Suttner said.

The defendant also was ordered to pay the California Franchise Tax Board $95,833 for filing a false tax return, Suttner said. (Read full article here)

Suspect accused of pimping in Ventura

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A Los Angeles man was arrested Thursday in Ventura on suspicion of prostitution-related offenses, including pimping and pandering, police said.

Ventura police said they arrested Byron Haskins, 27, after they received a tip around noon about possible prostitution activities at La Quinta Inn in the 5800 block of Valentine Road.

Police said when they arrived, they saw a man wanted by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office in connection with failing to appear in court after being charged with weapons-related crimes following an arrest in Santa Ana in October.

It’s at least the second call to the Ventura hotel on reports of prostitution. Ventura police made two arrests Dec. 20 after receiving a call of a possible female victim being held against her will.

Haskins was taken to Ventura County jail, where he was being held. (Read article here)

Human-trafficking suspect pleads guilty

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(Photo: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/VENTURA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE)

Ventura County prosecutors said Thursday that a Fresno man has pleaded guilty to a felony charge of human trafficking.

Demarea Williams, 23, faces a maximum of 12 years in prison, prosecutors said. He will be sentenced Feb. 2.

Police said they found her at a La Quinta Inn in Ventura, along with Williams and another woman, who was also arrested.

Williams was being held in Ventura County jail on Thursday without bail. (Read article here)

2 accused of holding woman against her will at Ventura hotel

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(Photo: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/VENTURA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE)

Monay Lewis (Photo: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/VENTURA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE)

Two suspects were arrested at a Ventura hotel after a woman claimed she was forced into prostitution and held against her will.

Ventura police arrested Demarea Williams, 23, and Monay Lewis, 21, after officers responded to a call at about 1 a.m. Tuesday of a possible female victim being held against her will at La Quinta Inn in the 5800 block of Valentine Road, authorities said.

When authorities arrived at the hotel parking lot, they found a female matching the victim’s description inside a car. Williams was standing outside the vehicle, Sgt. Gerald Foreman said.

According to authorities, the 21-year-old woman was being forced to have sex with various men for money, and the proceeds allegedly went to Williams. Investigators allege the woman had been “trafficked up and down the coast” of California as well as in Arizona and Texas. (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)