Two men have been arrested while a woman accomplice is at large. All three were allegedly targets of law enforcment for pimping out eight teenage girls in a sex trafficking ring that had its grip in three different states.
California residents Quinton Brown, 30, and Gerald Lavell Turner, 32, are now charged with pimping out 13 female victims, in that grouping eight minors were found, and all of them were used for commercial sex work.
Along with the female accomplice Mia McNeil, 32, who is still on the run from law enforcement, the three individuals together face a total of 54 charges which range from sex trafficking, pimping and identity theft, authorities claimed on Thursday.
It took investigators only six months to find and track down the ring and bust it apart after the initial probe was launched, with investigators claiming the three worked on 16 brothel sites across California, Nevada and Texas.
Among their victims were eight young women who fell between the ages of 15 and 17 years old. The other five victims were adults ranging from 18 and 21.
Brown faces the most charges with 41 criminal counts, while Turner has six counts and McNeil has 12, according to media reports.
According to California’s Attorney General’s Office, the suspects rang their ring in ‘plain sight’, using social media to lure the young women away from home and then used the same sites to sell them.
Brown is accused of luring a majority of the victims from the Central Valley and trafficked them throughout the state, primarily in the Los Angeles area as well as in Las Vegas and Texas, reported NBC 7. Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said in a news conference:
‘Years ago, a human trafficking case of this magnitude was not likely. We knew the more we looked, the more we would find.’
McDonnell was joined by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, and said the trio ‘sought to exploit children while defrauding their victims and other unsuspecting people.’
Investigators launched a probe in December after Los Angeles County deputies were called to an apartment in West Hollywood to follow up on a missing person report filed in Tulare County, McDonnell said. The deputies found the missing teenage girl and two other adults in the apartment and later learned the apartment was being used as part of the human trafficking that included the victims.
Though much of it is kept hush-hush, human trafficking has actually become ‘one of the fastest-growing criminal enterprises worldwide,’ according to Becerra.
Investigators have claimed that McNeil used stolen identities to rent apartments across California that were used as hubs or brothels, and used the money their victims got to purchase luxury cars that were used to move around their victims throughout California and to Las Vegas, Nevada and Texas as well.
This was an organized, disgusting crime that ripped the lives of young girls apart, and you know that there are rings just like this one, and even larger. Slavery isn’t over, no.
It’s actually much larger then it ever has been before.