Three charged in teen sex traf­fick­ing

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -

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.

AP/MICHAEL BALSAMO

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.

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