Los Angeles, CA – A report of a
missing teenager in Tulare County, California, in late 2016 culminated
into the uncovering of one of the largest sex trafficking rings in the
Western United States, according to an announcement
the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on Thursday. Thirteen young
women and girls, including the missing teen, were freed from captivity
as a result of the extensive investigation.
The missing teenager’s
disappearance, and subsequent discovery in a West Hollywood apartment in
January, led investigators in the LA Sheriff’s Department to discover an
extensive human sex trafficking network that extended from Nevada to
California. During the course of the investigation, detectives
discovered the ring used apartments in dozens of communities, including
Burbank, West Hollywood, and Las Vegas, as brothels.
“Years ago, a human
trafficking case of this magnitude was not likely,” Los
Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said in a news conference in
downtown. “We knew the more we looked,
the more we would find.”
The six-month investigation
by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Sheriff’s
Department, Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, and the
California Department of Justice, has led to two arrests so far.
Quinton Brown, 30, of Highland, and Gerald Turner, 32, of Fresno, were
arrested on suspicion of 54 charges relating to sex trafficking,
pimping, pandering, grand theft and identity theft.
The complaint, filed
Wednesday by the California Attorney General’s office, alleges that
Brown lured victims from the Central Valley as far back as in October
and trafficked them throughout the state. Investigators also said:
• The 13 victims include
eight minors who were sold for commercial sex.
• A 2017 Maserati Ghibli, a
2017 Maserati Levante, and a 2016 Porsche Panamera, all confiscated by
investigators, were used in the ring and obtained through fraudulent
• Eight people were victims
of identity theft.
• 16 sites across California
and in Nevada were used as brothels as part of the ring.
Mia McNeil, 32, who police
believe rented the apartments/brothels remains at large, according to
McDonnell. Additionally, law enforcement believes she also leased
high-end luxury vehicles to transport the ring’s sex slaves without
McDonnell said that detectives
uncovered that Brown and Turner “would traffic the victims in plain
sight,” using the Internet to advertise the women they were attempting
“They are as young as 15
years old, bought and sold for commercial sex,”according to
Surprisingly, most of the
victims of sex trafficking are born and raised in the U.S. At the news
conference, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said 72 percent
of the victims found in California say they are American.
“Human trafficking, which
includes sex and labor trafficking, is one of the fasting growing
crimes in the world. Its reach is not limited to foreign countries,” Becerra
said. “In California, human
trafficking is reported here in our state more than in any other.”
Law enforcement said the
investigation is ongoing, as they attempt to uncover and arrest the
individuals who solicited the young women and teenage sex slaves.
“The predators online that
are looking for an 11 year old … these people are not the traditional
johns that most people think of,” McDonnell
said. “These are predators. These
are child molesters that are out there taking advantage of some of the
most vulnerable in society.”
The Los Angeles Daily News
Since the Los Angeles
Regional Human Trafficking Task Force was established in 2015, there
have been 697 arrests, and of those, about 30 percent were male
buyers. In addition, there have been 185 victims rescued, a majority
of them youths who were sex trafficked.
Tulare County Sheriff Mike
Boudreaux said he has since met with one of the victims rescued, and
she has received help and is back in school. But he implored parents
to watch their children carefully, especially while they are on their
“To the parents, be
said during the press conference. “Pay attention to what your
children are doing online. Social networking is an environment for
predators to prey on and exploit the innocence of our children.”
Of course, when even those
tasked with protecting children — such as Raymond Liddy, 53, a
California deputy attorney general — are arrested on charges of
possessing child pornography; who is left to actually look
out for the welfare and safety of the children?
In addition to being a
California state prosecutor, Liddy is the son of a prominent Watergate
figure—G. Gordon Liddy—who was an operative in President Richard Nixon‘s
campaign attempt to burglarize the Democratic National Committee.
Raymond Liddy was arrested at
his home and was charged in federal court with possessing images of
minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, according to federal court
documents obtained by Heavy
He was subsequently released from custody and placed on home detention
with GPS monitoring after posting a $100,000 bond during his
Even after taking down “one
of the largest human trafficking rings on the West Coast,” there
is a virtual certainty that this bust only barely scratches the surface.
When high-level officials, tasked with prosecuting those that break the
law, are accused of being the ones preying upon the innocent and weakest
in society it makes one seriously question who is actually looking out
for the victims.
Please share this story in an
effort to raise awareness about the extreme scope of this constant and
pervasive societal problem of the sexual trafficking of children!