HAYWARD (BCN) — Ten people have been charged with conspiracy, pimping, pandering and human trafficking for allegedly running a prostitution ring in three counties, a spokeswoman for the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office said Friday.
The charges stem from a year-long, multi-agency investigation that culminated last week with search and arrest warrants being carried out at 10 locations in Alameda, Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties on Thursday to break up the alleged ring.
The law enforcement operation also resulted in the recovery of 10 women who were provided with support services.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said investigators believe that the people who operated the ring brought in dozens of women from Taiwan and China to the U.S., placed them on the prostitution circuit and cycled them through Bay Area brothels.
The investigation began when a Hayward police patrol officer looked into neighborhood complaints of suspected prostitution at a local residence.
Hayward officers eventually uncovered evidence supporting the complaints, and an undercover investigation established that the home was a clandestine brothel and part of a larger ring of similar brothels, O’Malley said.
District Attorney spokeswoman Teresa Drenick identified the defendants as Nu Trinh, Ping Fen Wu, Mei Chien Wu, Larry Cordeiro, Li Hun Chiu, Wen Yan Gold, Jennifer Michelle Keahilihau, Di Sun, Curt Mieczkowski and Kuanshun Cheng. They are all charged in Alameda County Superior Court.
Sun, 43, attempted to slice her wrist with a thin razor blade before her scheduled court appearance at the Hayward Hall of Justice on Thursday, Alameda County Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. J.D. Nelson said. She was in a holding area at the time, he said.
Nelson said authorities don’t believe that Sun was trying to kill herself because her wounds were only superficial. Instead, authorities believe Sun just didn’t want to appear in court, he said.
Sun was treated by paramedics at the courthouse and then taken to St. Rose Hospital in Hayward, Nelson said.
She was later taken to the John George Psychiatric Pavilion in San Leandro for a psychiatric evaluation but has since been returned to the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, where she is being held in lieu of $200,000 bail, according to Nelson. She is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 25.
The agencies who participated in the law enforcement action were the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office; the police departments in Hayward, Oakland, Berkeley, Sunnyvale, Newark, Danville and San Jose; the sheriff’s offices in Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties; the California Department of Justice; the Federal Bureau of Investigations; the Internal Revenue Service; and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The suspects could face federal charges in addition to the local charges because federal agencies were part of the investigation.
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