Madera cops bust human trafficking operation
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Madera police had the house at 1000 Tulare St. under surveillance for a month, tipped to suspicious activity they determined women were being held here against their will, forced into prostitution.
Police Commander Dino Lawson said the women were kept under the control of several handlers. "Individuals from Honduras, Mexico, and El Salvador involved in this ring they actually held the females against their will they were guarded 24 hours a day."
Five suspects were taken into custody at the home in Madera and at an apartment in Fresno. The suspects, two men and three women are charged with human trafficking and prostitution.
Both local and federal agents were involved in the bust. The eight women freed in the raids have been placed in protective custody.
Lawson said in addition to being watched, the women were coerced into working because of threats to their families. "They were told their families in El Salvador or Mexico would be harmed or killed if they didn't cooperate."
Lawson says the women were transported up and down the state, staying in different rented houses or apartments for a week at a time. Their handlers got their customers, by picking a specific clientele. "To solicit business they would go to local swap meets and hand out business cards."
Authorities are still looking for the alleged ringleader of this operation. He's identified as Antonio Moza. He fled his Fresno home just before law enforcement officers arrived.
crimetracker, sex crimes, fresno, fresno county, madera, madera county, local, gene haagenson
- Truck driver dies after pinned while making delivery in Fresno
- Juvenile seriously injured in Planada shooting
- Lawsuit filed after arrest made in Elbow Room fight
- Experts advise caution after several carbon monoxide leaks
- Merced Mercy Credit Union Cycling Classic runs its course
- Helicopter crashes while warming citrus grove
- Video: Valley Works: Fresno State Nursing Program
- Man arrested after a shooting spree in Fresno
- Man arrested for beating outside Elbow Room
- Pulmonary Rehab: Healing with music
- Fresno State fans plan for the Royal Purple Vegas Bowl
- Derek Carr not on Heisman Trophy finalist list
- Surviving the mall's food court
- 18 LA sheriff's deputies face US charges
Most Viewed StoriesMost Viewed Photos