Sex slavers arrested in Orlando for trafficking women from prison, MBI says
An elderly man and two other suspects were charged Thursday in an unusual human-trafficking scheme — recruiting felons from a Florida prison for women for a violent prostitution operation in Orlando, the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation announced today.
A nearly two-year investigation, dubbed Operation Blue Diamond, resulted in charges against 75-year-old Richard Rawles, 50-year-old James Bernard King and 61-year-old Wilbert Shaver.
Agents with a warrant also searched a residence on Cepeda Street, the alleged hub of the sex-trafficking operation.
The investigation began in December 2012.
Rawles, described as a “violent career criminal,” recruited prisoners from Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala and transported those women to Orlando after they were released from prison, MBI says.
“The defendants advertised the females on prostitution websites and transported them to locations in Central Florida to commit acts of prostitution,” MBI said in a statement. “Some customers were allowed to come to the residence to engage in acts of prostitution, as well.”
Rawles gave the women drugs, including cocaine and heroin, and wouldn’t allow them to leave without an “escort,” the agency said.
Rawles and King threatened and beat the women, MBI says.
Warrants were issued for all three men on the following charges: human trafficking for commercial sexual activity, human trafficking for labor and services and deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution.
Rawles was the “center of this investigation,” MBI says.
His criminal past included charges for 47 felonies, including robbery, sexual battery, battery, child abuse and cocaine possession.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Florida Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution are involved in the investigation.READ FULL POST