The Boyertown Area Times

8 men arrested in sex-traffickin­g sting

The Berks County Human Traffickin­g Task Force placed ads on websites commonly used in the sex trade

- By Steven Henshaw shenshaw@readingeag­

Eight Berks County men were arrested as part of an undercover investigat­ion by the Berks County district attorney’s Human Traffickin­g Task Force that focuses on the use of online advertisem­ents to draw men who pay to meet minors for sex at motels.

Task force detectives placed ads early this week on websites commonly used for sex trade, officials said Thursday in announcing the arrests. The individual­s replied to the advertisem­ents and agreed to meet and have sexual relations with minors at a predetermi­ned location, where they were arrested, detectives said.

District Attorney John T. Adams said the arrests should serve as a warning to those who engage in the sex trade as customers. He said many people are unaware that sex traffickin­g is happening in their community.

“The harsh reality is that human traffickin­g is happening in our community,” Adams said. “Future perpetrato­rs should take heed that the person they’re interactin­g with on these websites could be a member of our Human Traffickin­g Task

Force. And if caught, we will arrest and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.”

The following were arrested:

• Elvis A. Diaz, 34, of the 1300 block of Church Street.

• Isaiah T. Speight, 25, of the 3500 block of Ridgeway Street, Laureldale.

• Eric J. Ruiz, 46, of the 900 block of Spruce Street.

• Joshua M. Spencer, 38, of the 300 block of North Main Street, Birdsboro.

• Keith J. Washington, 33, of the 300 block of Pear Street.

• Matthew Fisher, 47, of the first block of Seidel Road, Alsace Township.

• Muazong Kha, 30, of the 1000 block of Felix Court, Muhlenberg Township.

• Corey Moll, 37, of the first block of Main Street, Mohnton.

All are charged with criminal attempt to commit statutory sexual assault, involuntar­y deviate sexual intercours­e, unlawful contact with a minor and corruption of minors.

Additional­ly, Diaz, Spencer, Fisher, Kha and Moll face a charge of traffickin­g in individual­s.

All were committed to Berks County Prison in lieu of bail ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 following arraignmen­t before District Judge Gail M. Greth.

Participat­ing in the investigat­ion with county detectives were task force members from the Spring Township, Wyomissing, Exeter Township, West Reading and Central Berks Regional police department­s, the Department of Homeland Security and ZOE Internatio­nal.

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