Pennsylvania State Police charged three people in connection to a drug distribution and human trafficking ring operating in and around Berks County. Hector M. Rivera, 50, of Reading; Dushawn O. Ellis, 31, of Reading; and Bridget M. Thompson, 36, of Lancaster, were charged with crimes related to corrupt organizations, trafficking individuals, prostitution, and other related offenses.
According to erienewsnow.com, a confidential information source made it possible for state Police investigators to develop leads and identify multiple victims.
The result presented to a grand jury found Rivera, Ellis and Thompson operating a corrupt organization involved in the human trafficking of young women for the commercial sex trade.
Police said Thompson´s role in the ring was to post advertisements to contact customers while Rivera and Ellis used drugs to lure some of the victims into prostitution and then control them. According to investigators, the female victims received payments from the customers which they would then turn over to either Rivera.
Some of the felony charges the suspects face include: Corrupt organizations, trafficking in individuals, criminal conspiracy and prostitution.
To shut down human trafficking
As reported by abc.27.com, Attorney General Josh Shapiro said that “the individuals charged today manipulated and abused terrified, vulnerable young women. They put their victims’ lives at risk for a profit.” Shapiro expressed his intention to eradicate this criminal activity from the state. “We’re working with our state law enforcement partners to seek out and shut down human trafficking throughout Pennsylvania.”
“Human trafficking is prevalent in our own communities within the commonwealth,” said Major Jeremy Richard, director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation. “This case is a testament to the millions of men, women, and children who are trafficked worldwide and, in every city, suburb, and town in this great commonwealth.”