Nine arrested in sprawling Santa Clara County sex-trafficking ring

Santa Clara County prosecutors Tuesday announced nine arrests in what they said was a sprawling Bay Area sex-trafficking ring in which 18 prostitution victims from South America and Mexico were forced to work seven days a week in San Jose and East Bay hotel rooms.

A criminal complaint identified those arrested as Jairo CardenasFonseca, 65, and Stella SalinasPena, 60, of San Jose; Michel Andreiw AyalaValdivieso, 33 and Angela Marlenn Ceuspinzon, 54, of Coalinga; Gladis Celis, 49, Jair Hernando OrtizSalinas, 48, and Kristhian OrtizCelis, 23, of Lake Elsinore; Juan Sebastian MoraMurrillo, 23, and Alexander LopezMachado, 18, of Gilroy.

The suspects have been charged with crimes ranging from human trafficking and conspiracy to commit human trafficking to pimping, pandering, and money laundering in what prosecutors called one of the largest trafficking operations in the state and the first wiretap-based trafficking case in Santa Clara County.

“Slavery was outlawed in this country in 1865. In 2023 we will not tolerate its despicable resurgence,” Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement. “This operation is a testament to the dedicated and determined federal, state, and local authorities who are speaking as one to say human beings are not chattel.”

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