Tag Archives: Law Enforcement

More Backpage Indictments Filtered Found On Research

.jpg photo of Backpage website Co-Founder
Jim Larkin, Backpage Website Co-Founder.

Three North Texans charged in Backpage
indictment

“I do not appreciate the media filtering my search engine results, most particularly when it involves Children being Abused or Trafficked, so here are the names of the 7 defendants charged:”

“The seven defendants charged in the indictment are Michael Lacey, 69, of Paradise Valley, Arizona; James Larkin, 68, of Paradise Valley, Arizona; Scott Spear, 67, of Scottsdale, Arizona; John E. “Jed” Brunst, 66, of Phoenix, Arizona; Daniel Hyer, 49, of Dallas, Texas; Andrew Padilla, 45, of Plano, Texas and Jaala Joye Vaught, 37, of Addison, Texas.”
~ Robert StrongBow ~

.jpg photo of Backpage website Co-Founder.
Michael Lacey, Backpage Co-Founder

“Website founders Michael Lacey and James Larkin are charged with facilitating prostitution and money laundering.”

April 9, 2018

PHOENIX, AZ  –  The founders of Backpage.com and five others at the classified site have been indicted on federal charges in what authorities say was a scheme to facilitate prostitution by running ads for sexual services and hiding their revenues.

An indictment unsealed Monday alleges that Backpage.com on some occasions had helped customers edit their ads so they would stay within legal limits while still encouraging commercial sex.

In one area, the indictment reads, “for several years, Backpage’s official policy, when presented with an ad featuring child prostitution, was to delete the particular words in the ad denoting the child’s age and then publish a revised version of the ad.”

It also says that Backpage claimed it does everything in its power to alert the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children whenever it becomes aware that a child is being advertised on the website.

But the indictment alleges that Backpage implemented policies to limit referrals to NCMEC.

The indictment says a top official emailed another saying, “If we don’t want to blow past 500 (referrals to NCMEC) this month, we shouldn’t be doing more than 16 a day.”

Other documents are referred to in the indictment saying a training document instructed website moderators not to send emergency alerts to NCMEC in response to complaints filed by the grandparents or other extended family being advertised on the website.

Website founders Michael Lacey and James Larkin are charged with facilitating prostitution and money laundering.

They are already facing state money laundering charges in California.

Larry Kazan, who represents Lacey, didn’t return a call seeking comment. There is no listing for Larkin’s attorney.

Seven defendants charged in the indictment include three people from North Texas, 49-year-old Daniel Hyer, of Dallas, 45-year-old Andrew Padilla, of Plano, and 37-year-old Jaala Joye Vaught, of Addison.

Authorities also have seized Backpage.com and its affiliated websites.

Julia Walsh, a sex trafficking survivor from the DFW area, says that she was sold for sex on Backpage for almost 3 years.

By age 19, she says men were paying as little as $40 for sexual encounters.
Walsh says she was trafficked from 2010 to 2014, and that her first trafficker was her boyfriend.

“They would post an ad about me, and we’d get over like 50 calls within an hour that’s just how many people are visiting the website,” Walsh said.

Walsh says she would have at least 200 sexual encounters with customers weekly.

“Probably about 210. Sometimes more and sometimes less. It depends what city we were in and what time of day it was,” Walsh said.

Now 26, Walsh says she was rescued during a police sting in 2014.

That was just two years before agents raided Backpage’s Dallas headquarters. On Monday, Attorney General Ken Paxton said that evidence was taken during the raid that was crucial to crafting the 93-count indictment.

At the time, CEO Carl Ferrer was arrested on pimping charges.  He isn’t charged in the indictment, but throughout the documents, a person with knowledge about the company is constantly referenced and is only identified with the initials “C.F.”

Tonya Stafford, a sex trafficking survivor who helps rescue women and children sold for sex online, applauded the website’s demise.

Stafford was sold for drugs when she was 13. From 1988 to 1997 she was held against her will.

Through her program “It’s Going to Be Ok, Inc.” she helps find new homes for sex trafficking victims.

She said she often visited Backpage for rescues.

“If a parent calls me or messages me saying their child is missing…I have to go through page after page,” Stafford said.  “That’s the hardest part.”

On June 23rd, Stafford will be hosting the 2nd Annual Stop The Traffick Walk near Bachman Lake.

CA Woman Kidnapped, Trafficked With Child In TX

.jpg photo of man arrested for alleged human trafficking
Devanshu Gupta, 26

Irving Police Arrest Pair For Alleged
Human Trafficking

IRVING, TX  –  The Irving Police Department is investigating a case of human trafficking that happened during the past few months.  On Sunday, April 15, 2018, officers responded to a call where a victim reported escaping from a prostitution enterprise.

.jpg photo of woman arrested for alleged human trafficking
America Anderson, 20

The victim, a young adult female, was kidnapped from California and brought to a home in the 200 block of Rolston Road against her will.  While there, she was forced into prostitution by two suspects, America Anderson, 20, and Devanshu Gupta, 26.

They would advertise the services on a variety of websites, then take the victim to various local motels to meet with customers.  Also at the home was a second victim, a juvenile female, who was also being held against her will and forced to participate in prostitution.

The responding officers and detectives quickly identified the suspects and took them into custody after seeing them leave the home with the juvenile victim.  Both are currently being held in the Irving City Jail on charges of Trafficking of Persons, Trafficking of Child, Compelling Prostitution ($100,000 bond each charge) and Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution ($50,000 bond).

Stopping Child Abuse Lies Within Educating The Community

.jpg photo of National Child Abuse Prevention Month in San Antonio Texas
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said “… The root of the solution lies within educating the community.”

SAPD, BCSO team up to combat Child Abuse during prevention month

SAN ANTONIO, TX  –  Abuse to one child is too many.  That’s the message from Wednesday morning’s Blue Breakfast hosted by St. Jude’s Ranch for Children to raise awareness for Child Abuse Prevention Month this April.

Area leaders and law enforcement attended and acted as the voice for the many neglected and abused children across the county.

San Antonio Police Department Chief William McManus and Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar were some of those speaking at the Blue Breakfast.

Salazar said they can’t just arrest the problem away. The root of the solution lies within educating the community.

“Educating the public on what their responsibility is as far as notifying authorities if they see abuse,” Salazar said.  “Letting neighbors know it’s not just OK but many times you are legally bound to report abuse if you see it.”

Organizers with St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, a refuge for hundreds of abused children, said there are other ways you can do your part.

Tara Roussett, CEO of SJRC, said they are in need of foster families, financial support and mentors.  They need people who are willing to connect with children.

Those interested in donating or fostering, mentoring a child can find more information on the SJRC website.

AMBER ALERT – San Antonio TX Called Off

.jpg photo of Amber Alert graphic
AMBER ALERT – San Antonio, Texas called off.

Missing Texas toddlers named in Amber Alert found safe

SAN ANTONIO, TX   –  An Amber Alert for missing twin toddlers who authorities fear were abducted in San Antonio was canceled Thursday afternoon after U.S. marshals found the twins safe.

Kinsley and Kolby Hernandez, 3, were found in Florida.

Details of their disappearance were not released.

The Amber Alert, issued just after midnight Thursday morning, said authorities believed the children were “in grave or immediate danger.”

Leslie Hernandez, 38, with whom the twins were believed to be, was in custody Thursday afternoon.

AMBER ALERT – San Antonio TX

.jpg photo of Amber Alert graphic
AMBER ALERT – San Antonio, Texas

AMBER ALERT:  Police searching for 2 abducted San Antonio children

SAN ANTONIO, TX  –  An Amber Alert has been issued for two children that police say were abducted in San Antonio.

Police are looking for Kinsley and Kolby Hernandez.  The 3-year-old children are believed to be with Leslie Hernandez, who police say is connected to their abduction.

Leslie is driving a silver 2010 Chevy Suburban with Texas license plate JGG-2909.

The children are both described as being Hispanic, standing at 3 foot 3, and weighing 38 pounds.

Leslie, 39, stands at 5 foot 8, weighs 215 pounds, has red/brown hair and brown eyes, and a yellow butterfly tattoo on her shoulder.

If you have seen them, you are asked to call police.