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One arrested in human trafficking attempt in Camarillo

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The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office thwarted a human trafficking attempt in a Camarillo motel last week, authorities said Thursday.

Authorities said that at 10:20 a.m. March 30, police responded to a call of possible prostitution at the Quality Inn & Suites, 984 W. Ventura Blvd.

After conducting an investigation and multiple interviews, authorities said they determined illegal prostitution activities were taking place at the motel.

A 51-year-old woman in one of the rooms was found to be a victim of human trafficking, according to investigators. She was provided with county services for victims of human trafficking, which inform them of their rights and options for safely leaving their trafficking situation, according to authorities.

Through the investigation, authorities said they learned one of the motel clerks, a 27-year-old male from Camarillo, was aware of the trafficking and aided in its occurrence there. The man was arrested on suspicion of aiding prostitution and was later cited and released from custody with a pending court date, authorities said.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate. (Read article here)

Victims as young as 14 found in human trafficking probe in Camarillo; 1 suspect arrested

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

A Sacramento man was arrested on suspicion of human trafficking offenses last week after victims, including female juveniles, were found in a Camarillo hotel, authorities said.

Ventura County Sheriff’s Office detectives launched an investigation March 20 after a Citrus Heights police detective informed deputies that a 14-year-old female runaway may have been in the Camarillo area.

The 14-year-old was reportedly seen in an internet post advertising sexual services, leading the detective from Citrus Heights, a suburb of Sacramento, to believe she was a victim of human trafficking.

Deputies said they searched lodging locations in Camarillo and in the early morning hours of March 21 found the 14-year-old at a hotel with two other females ages 17 and 22. (Read full article here)

San Bernardino man pleads guilty to pimping minor in Ventura

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Percy Stanley, 28, of San Bernardino

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

A San Bernardino man pleaded guilty to pimping a minor in Ventura, according to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.

Percy Stanley, 28, is expected to receive a three-year prison sentence when he is sentenced Oct. 17, prosecutors said.

Stanley and Asia Jones, 18, of Moreno Valley, were arrested Jan. 11 after a witness reported to Ventura police that a minor and a man were having sex in a neighbor’s side yard, authorities said.

The minor was a 16-year-old girl missing out of Riverside County, police said.

Jones and Stanley had both been charged with felony causing a minor to engage in a commercial sex act and pimping a minor. Jones pleaded guilty in March to causing a minor to engage in a commercial sex act, prosecutors said. (Read full article here)

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)

‘Mastermind’ of prostitution ring sentenced

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A Covina man described as the “mastermind” of a multimillion-dollar prostitution ring was sentenced Wednesday morning to 12 years and eight months in state prison for his role in trafficking dozens of female Chinese nationals.

Hsin Chieh “Jerry” Wang, 40, appeared before Ventura County Superior Court Judge Bruce Young and was also ordered to pay $500,000 for conspiracy to commit human trafficking and another $250,000 for money laundering.

Wang had pled guilty Jan. 19 to 11 felony charges, including conspiracy to commit human trafficking, pimping and money laundering.

He 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)

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)

Court appearance scheduled for human trafficking suspects

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Brian Lewis, 21

A court appearance has been scheduled for the three men arrested Saturday on suspicion of human trafficking, according to county records.

Brian Lewis, 21, Dashawn Jackson, 18, and Dameon Howard, 20, all from Fresno, were arrested Saturday on suspicion of causing a minor to engage in a commercial sex act and conspiracy to commit a crime, according to county jail records. Lewis was also arrested on suspicion of carrying a loaded firearm, police said.

The three men will appear in court at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in room 14 of the Ventura County Superior Court.

Police were first notified of the crime by the National Human Trafficking Center, who received a hotline call from a 17-year-old victim, authorities said. Police said the victim claimed she had been with the men over three days in San Diego County and “forced to commit acts of prostitution.” Police were then alerted of where the three men were staying and arrived to arrest the suspects. (Read article here)

Dashawn Jackson, 18

Dameon Howard, 20

3 arrested as new human trafficking case emerges in Ventura

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Three Fresno men were arrested Saturday on suspicion of human trafficking in Ventura, authorities said.

Ventura police said they were alerted about 5:30 a.m. to the victim by the National Human Trafficking Center after the 17-year-old female called a hotline and said she was hiding in the area of Valentine Road and Victoria Avenue.

Officers found the victim and took her to the police station, where she told detectives she had been with three men over the past three days in San Diego County and “was forced to commit acts of prostitution,” police said in a news release. The men told her she was not free to leave and threatened her if she did not comply, police said.

The victim gave officers descriptions of the suspects and their vehicle and said they had been staying at La Quinta Inn, 5818 Valentine Road, police said.

Detectives with the agency’s street crimes unit went to the inn and found the vehicle, authorities said. A traffic stop was conducted on it about 10:30 a.m. after the men were seen leaving the room, police said. A loaded firearm was found in a search of the vehicle, police said.

The victim later identified the men from the traffic stop as her captors, and all three were arrested, police said. Brian Lewis, 21, Dashawn Jackson, 18, and Dameon Howard, 20, were arrested on suspicion of human trafficking and conspiracy to commit a crime, police said. Lewis also was arrested on suspicion of carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle, authorities 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)

L.A. Regional Human Trafficking Task Force Announce the Arrest & Rescue of Many During ‘Operation Reclaim & Rebuild’

In conjunction with Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Sheriff Jim McDonnell announced details and results from the third annual ‘Operation Reclaim and Rebuild’ enforcement operation, conducted by the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force and more than 30 participating federal state and local law enforcement agencies, and task forces from across California.  The three-day, statewide effort aimed at combatting human trafficking took place between Thursday, January 26, and Saturday, January 28, 2017, was conducted in various mediums and met with positive results.

The press conference was held Tuesday, January 31, 2017, at the iconic Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles.  Sheriff McDonnell was joined by District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office; Deputy Chief Justin Eisenberg, Chief of Detectives, Los Angeles Police Department; Special Agent In Charge Joseph Macias, Homeland Security Investigations Los Angeles; Executive Director Kay Buck, Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST); Human Trafficking Bureau Captain Chris Marks, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; representatives from 15 the 30 participating federal, state and local law enforcement agencies; and representatives from public and private service providers.

Operation Reclaim and Rebuild focused on rescuing victims of sexual slavery and human trafficking, providing victims with much-needed services, identifying and arresting their captors, seeking successful prosecutions, and disrupting the demand for vulnerable victims by targeting their customers.  Police agencies and other trafficking task forces throughout our state joined in the enforcement operation to send the clear message that California law enforcement shares a unified mandate:   Human trafficking must not be tolerated in our state! (Read full article here)