Three charged in teen sex trafficking
LOS ANGELES — Three people were charged in the pimping of eight teens for commercial sex work in a ring that operated in California, Nevada and Texas, authorities said Thursday.
The teens, between 15 and 17, were lured into the commercial sex operation that solicited customers through postings on the Internet, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said.
Quinton Brown, 30, Gerald Lavell Turner, 32, and Mia McNeil, 32, face a total of 54 charges that include sex trafficking, pimping and identity theft, authorities said. It wasn’t immediately clear if they had attorneys who could comment on the allegations.
McDonnell, who was joined by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, said the trio “sought to exploit children while defrauding their victims and other unsuspecting people.”
Investigators began 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 13 female victims, including the eight teens.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (right) announces what authorities believe to be one of the largest human trafficking cases in the western United States on Thursday, during a news conference in Los Angeles.