7 arrested in reference to working intercourse and labor trafficking ring out of companies in three SoCal counties
Seven people were arrested this week and two are pending in connection with the operation of an extensive sex and labor trafficking ring in three counties of Southern California, investigators from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.
The investigation began in January after the agency’s special crimes department received information about sex and labor trafficking in several massage parlors and skin care companies in the county.
The companies were apparently owned by a family in the Inland Empire and operated under false names in Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, officials said in a press release.
Investigators learned that those involved had targeted women from Mexico to work at these companies, some of whom were living in Southern California on refugee visas.
The suspects allegedly used people smugglers to recruit women in Mexico and bring them to the US to work in the illegal companies.
“Once these women were recruited, sex ads were displayed on various websites depicting them,” the authorities said in the press release.
The advertisements described prices, types of sexual encounters, and where the women worked. They were updated on a daily basis and the women were switched between different companies in the counties, officials said.
Aside from the six personal care facilities that operate as human trafficking businesses in the counties, officials also identified a fashion boutique that laundered the proceeds from the illegal business.
“The proceeds from these stores were channeled through the fashion boutique to make the proceeds appear legal so the suspects could pay for car payments, mortgages and other expenses,” the authorities said.
The extensive organization was mainly led by the siblings Olga and Carlos Paredes from Colton. Olga Paredes, 47, allegedly oversaw the stores, met with managers and opened new stores under false names, while her brother allegedly managed multiple locations, collected payment receipts, recruited the women and posted the sex ads, officials said.
Flor De Maria Evora, 25, from West Covina – Carlos Paredes ‘girlfriend – and Jaime Vasquez, 33 – from Colton – Paredes’ nephew – reportedly managed the daily accounting records and proceeds for all businesses.
Olga Ramirez, 23, the daughter of Olga Paredes, allegedly ran the fashion boutique and helped her mother open new human trafficking stores.
Maria Del Refugio Garcia, the mother of the Paredes, lives in Mexico and allegedly gave “guidance and instruction” for the operation of the illegal business. She also allegedly opened bank accounts in Mexico to manage funds from US companies, officials said.
Bruce Pineda, 18, from San Diego, Ismael Reyes, 62, from Ontario, and Hector Prado Ramos, 28, from Ontario reportedly ran three separate illegal businesses for the family.
On Tuesday, search warrants were issued in the companies and in several houses and numerous victims were found and rescued. In addition, “large sums of money” believed to be proceeds from sex trafficking and money laundering have been seized, officials said.
Olga Paredes, Evora, Ramirez, Vasquez, Pineda, Reyes and Ramos were all arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a crime, human trafficking, pimping and pandering. The authorities published mug shots for four of the seven suspects on Thursday.
The case is under review by the Ventura District Attorney’s Office.
Carlos Paredes, 42, was not found during the search warrant and his mother is said to be still in Mexico. Arrest warrants related to the same charges are pending for both suspects, officials said.
The raided companies were: Royal Spa and Cool Sculpting in Oxnard, Sunset Skin Care in Port Hueneme, Gem Skin Care in Colton, Cosmopolitan Spa in Palm Springs, Orchid Skin Care in San Bernardino and Fashion Spot in Colton.
Suggest a correction
Suggest a correction