14 victims, including 10 minors, rescued after Hemet sex trafficking ring busted, 3 arrested
HEMET — Authorities say they have broken up a Hemet-based sex trafficking ring that preyed upon juveniles and forced both women and girls into a life of sexual exploitation and daily emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.
During their more than 8-month investigation officials say they identified and rescued fourteen victims, ten of whom were discovered to be juveniles as young as 15-years-old.
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According to officials, the fourteen known victims were trafficked across at least three counties and officials believe there may be additional victims who have not yet come forward or been identified.
Three San Jacinto valley men have now been arrested in connection with the investigation that began last January after a City of Hemet police sergeant spotted two teens engaged in a sex act – in broad daylight – with a San Jacinto man inside a car that had been parked on a busy Hemet street.
During that initial investigation three victims, including an 18-year-old and two 15-year-olds, were rescued. One of the victims was later determined to be a recent Hemet area runaway.
Early on in their investigation, officials arrested Marvonte Deon Dolberry, 22, of San Jacinto for his alleged involvement in the sex trafficking ring. He was booked into jail on suspicion of human trafficking, trafficking of a minor, pimping, pandering, oral copulation with a minor, and unlawful sexual intercourse. He has remained in jail since his arrest, according to Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant John Sawyer.
The other man arrested that January day, Luis Chavez-Avila, 30, of San Jacinto, was determined to have paid to engage in a sex act with the two girls, but was not directly involved with trafficking the victims.
Authorities yesterday identified the two other men alleged to have been running the prostitution ring with Dolberry as Daniel Lee Simpson III, 18, and Rodrick Rozel Morris, 24. Both men are Hemet residents and both remain in custody, held on $2 million bail each.
How a Sgt.’s observation led to the rescue of 14 victims, including 10 minors
Simpson, Morris, and Dolberry’s sex trafficking empire began to crumble apart Jan. 18, when a Hemet PD Sgt. was patrolling Hemet’s streets and spotted suspicious activity occurring inside a car parked on the 300 block of S. Gilmore St. near Acacia Ave.
When the officer approached the vehicle, he observed what he suspected to be “prostitution related activity,” Sawyer explained after the January arrests.
“During the check of the parked vehicle, two females were detained while actively engaged in the performance of a sexual act with the male driver of the vehicle,” said Sawyer.
The two teens reportedly told investigating officers they were being exploited for the purpose of sex trafficking, leading Hemet PD to contact RCAHT for assistance in the investigation.
Within hours, officials located and apprehended Dolberry at a nearby motel in the 800 block of W. Florida Ave. During Dolberry’s arrest, officials found a third teenage girl, who was also believed to be a victim of sex-trafficking.
Based on their investigation, RCAHT officials took the two 15-year-old’s into protective custody and both girls were later reunited with and returned to their families.
Since January, RCAHT Task Force members have continued their investigation; gathering and reviewing additional evidence, interviewing numerous additional victims and witnesses, and serving multiple search warrants, according to Sawyer.
During their investigation RCAHT members learned that Dolberry, Simpson, and Morris, worked together to run what Sawyer described as a “coordinated sex trafficking ring” that began in May, 2017.
“Although Dolberry’s involvement ended with his arrest in January, Simpson and Morris continued their criminal trafficking activities through June of 2018,” Sawyer explained. “The additional investigation against Simpson and Morris revealed they controlled their victims through force and threats of violence.”
According to Sawyer, the sex trafficking occurred extensively in the city of Hemet, as well as in various locations throughout San Diego and Orange counties.
Based on their exhaustive investigation, RCAHT Task Force members sought arrest warrants in late June for both Simpson and Morris, “alleging multiple charges of human trafficking, human trafficking of a minor, pimping and pandering,” said Sawyer.
Morris was taken into custody by Hemet PD Aug. 12, and Perris Sheriff’s Station deputies located and arrested Simpson Aug. 30.
“One in six youth who run away will be victims of human trafficking
within the first 48 hours.”
While some believe the number of women and juveniles being rescued daily thanks to the ongoing efforts of RCAHT and similar law enforcement task forces seems high or unusual, according to Million Kids President and CEO Opal Singleton, human trafficking is the fastest growing crime in the US and California is the number one state for sex trafficking cases.
“All too often these predators lure in innocent young people who have little understanding of grooming and recruitment and they fall prey to pimps and predators who take advantage of them,” Singleton, who serves as the Training and Outreach Coordinator for the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, recently explained to RCNS.
“It is believed that one of six youth who run away will be victims of human trafficking within the first 48 hours,” said Singleton.
The victims in this case have been referred to victim advocates and are now receiving counseling to help them learn how to recover from the daily abuse and exploitation they endured.
Anyone with additional information regarding this investigation is encouraged to contact Deputy Sheriff Daniel Engels at (951) 955-1700 or via email. Callers can refer to incident file number R180180007 and can remain anonymous.