24 alleged North Park gang members have been charged as members of a racketeering conspiracy linked to the sex trafficking of 60 women in 46 cities in 23 states.
The ring was being run jointly by the alleged members of two separate North Park gangs, collectively known as “BMS.”
The women, spanning from age 25 all the way down to just 15, were either recruited from various parts of San Diego County or were lured through social media websites. They were violently forced into the business or were coerced with promises of glamour lifestyle, according to U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. As a display of the gang’s proprietorship, the girls would then be tattooed with the gang’s monikers, pimps’ names, or even bar codes.
“Over the last several years, the defendants in this enterprise had really expanded enterprise activities, like a profit-driven, fast-expanding corporation,” Duffy said. “The kind of sex trafficking described in the indictment is nothing less than modern-day slavery. Unfortunately, this is something we’re beginning to see more and more with gangs, moving away from some of the traditional gang behavior into this type of business.”
Duffy alleged the defendants were involved in various aspects of the enterprise. Some would transport the prostitutes, some would use violence to maintain the women’s loyalty, some handled money, and some were in charge of booking the hotel rooms in which the prostitution would take place.
The 23 states of operation included: Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, and the enterprise even made its way to Alaska and Hawaii.