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Thread: Feds inMinnesota charge 21 new defendants in sweeping probe of Thai sex ring

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Stillearly's Avatar
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    Feds inMinnesota charge 21 new defendants in sweeping probe of Thai sex ring



    Feds in Minnesota charge 21 new defendants in sweeping probe of Thai sex ring

    International prostitution ring included at least seven sites in Minneapolis, with Thai women working as 'sex slaves.'


    By Stephen Montemayor Star Tribune MAY 25, 2017

    A major federal investigation into the inner workings of a sex ring that allegedly trafficked hundreds of Thai women throughout the United States, first unveiled last fall, has produced new charges against 21 high-level members of the conspiracy, Minnesota authorities announced Thursday.

    The new indictment, which grew out of a Minnesota investigation, brings the number of people charged in the “Bangkok Dark Nights” probe to 38. Prosecutors hope it will deal a blow to the organization’s leaders, who allegedly deployed sophisticated methods to laundering millions of dollars in illicit proceeds from the scheme.

    Law enforcement officials arrested defendants in California, Texas and Illinois before charges were expected to be announced Thursday at a news conference led by the U.S. attorney’s office in Minneapolis.

    Investigators have identified at least seven Minneapolis-area locations used as houses of prostitution during the conspiracy. Prosecutors say the ringleaders of the organization, who are still in Thailand, personally scouted some of the Minnesota locations through which at least a dozen victims were trafficked.

    Authorities say the total number of women trafficked by the organization could reach the thousands, and allege that the conspiracy began in 2009. Traffickers allegedly preyed on impoverished Thai nationals who understood little English, and referred to their victims as “flowers.” After being promised a better life in the U.S., the women were forced into working at all hours of the day, up to seven days a week, to pay down “bondage debts” of up to $60,000 apiece.

    Like the original indictment, the new charges describe a mafia-like enterprise with members playing multiple roles — from traffickers who owned and sometimes traded victims’ “bondage debts,” to “house bosses” who ran daily operations at houses of prostitution, “facilitators” who fraudulently married some high-level members of the conspiracy to help them gain immigration status, and money launderers who helped keep the business afloat.

    The first wave of charges came in September 2016 and represented the first case charged by former U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger to target an entire sex trafficking organization. Agents from Homeland Security Investigations, the Criminal Division of the I.R.S., and state and local law enforcement in the Twin Cities and Chicago areas have participated in the nearly two-year investigation. Minnesota officials have also traveled to Thailand in an effort to foster cooperation with authorities there.

    Prosecutors have described the victims as modern day slaves whose services were advertised on websites like backpage.com and eros.com. They weren’t allowed to leave the apartments, hotels or spas at which they worked without an escort, and some victims were encouraged to undergo breast augmentation to fit the needs of a given “market.” According to charges, the women were forced to submit to abusive sex buyers and were expected to service up to 10 or more “Johns” per day.

    “At times, customers would be physically and sexually abusive with the victims, including acting out ‘rape fantasies’ with the victims,” the indictment said.

    Massive money laundering

    The ring’s money launderers have proved to be among the most elusive targets because most had no history of contact with law enforcement, authorities said. According to charges, the ring dealt primarily in cash and used a number of methods to conceal proceeds, including “funnel accounts” opened by victims but controlled by conspirators who controlled the bank accounts.

    The alleged conspiracy also smuggled cash in bulk, wired money back to Thailand and used a “hawala-based system” to transfer money overseas. Under that system, a person is paid in one location and instructs an associate elsewhere to pay the final recipient.

    “The result is the movement of funds from one location to another without the need to actually transfer or wire the funds,” according to the indictment. Prosecutors said the organization moved millions of dollars in illegal proceeds.

    A trial has been scheduled for Oct. 2, with both indictments stemming from the investigation assigned to Senior U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank. Three defendants charged in the first indictment — including two Minnesotans — have since pleaded guilty this spring and have agreed to forfeit between $39,000 to $75,000 each at sentencing.

    Two men, John Zbaracki and John Ng, admitted to joining the conspiracy after first being customers. They were considered “runners” who drove victims to and from airports and accompanied them to trips the bank or to buy condoms and lubricant. The men admitted to being paid both in cash and in sex with the women. Another defendant, Andrew Flanigan, admitted last week to marrying a co-defendant who was first trafficked by the organization but eventually rose to the level of “house boss” in Atlanta.

    Feds in Minnesota charge 21 new defendants in Thai sex ring - StarTribune.com

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน MarcTwoSix's Avatar
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    It goes on massively in Vancouver also.....but mostly Chinese girls

    And I do think these girls are trafficked also.

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    Cadet Gold GGrass's Avatar
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    Thailand's number one export, pussy.

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Uber Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Nomad's Avatar
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    Great result...hope they appropriately look after the girls.

    Given how hard it is meant to be to get a US tourist visa for a legitimate Thai girlfriend, they must either have immigration on the payroll or are they "aliens" or whatever the term is...obviously need a wall to keep them out!
    Quarky and PeteGill like this.
    "Don't wait around for your life to happen to you. Find something that makes you happy and do it. Everything else is just background noise." George Mason

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Zablive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
    Great result...hope they appropriately look after the girls.

    Given how hard it is meant to be to get a US tourist visa for a legitimate Thai girlfriend, they must either have immigration on the payroll or are they "aliens" or whatever the term is...obviously need a wall to keep them out!
    Don't you think they had walls keeping them in? 555
    Political Correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and promoted by a sick mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end!

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