Attorney General Bonta Obtains Guilty Pleas In Statewide Trafficking Ring Bust | State of California – Department of Justice
Three more plead guilty to multi-jurisdictional law enforcement efforts
OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced that he has obtained guilty pleas from three other people involved in an organized crime trafficking ring that operated across California. As a result of the guilty pleas, Pengcheng Cai, Dafeng Wen and Peishin Lee will be expected to serve prison terms of up to about eight years in prison for sex trafficking, labor trafficking and money laundering. The guilty pleas announced today come on top of a 10-year and eight-month sentence already handed down to Jing Chiang Huang. The guilty pleas are the result of a cooperative investigation by the California Department of Justice, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office and several other law enforcement agencies. local, state and federal law.
“Whether it’s trafficking, money laundering or any other crime, California is committed to holding those who break the law accountable.” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “The guilty pleas we announced today demonstrate what we can accomplish when we work together. Through courage and collaboration, we dismantle organized crime and disrupt human trafficking in our state. Conclusion: everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
“The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office is committed to working together to reduce human trafficking and effectively prosecute those who engage in it against a criminal enterprise” Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton said. “These guilty pleas and sentences show that when law enforcement works together, communities are safer.
In 2019, the attorney general’s office indicted Huang, Cai, Wen, Lee and two others for a total of more than a dozen crimes allegedly committed between 2015 and 2019 related to the sex trafficking of multiple victims, tax evasion, and money laundering. The charges came after several joint dismantling operations resulted in several arrests, as well as the rescue of more than a dozen suspected survivors. As part of the trafficking operation, the criminal network used Backpage.com to place sexual ads and deprived people of their liberty in order to force them to commit sex acts in several brothels. In addition, as a form of labor trafficking, the network has also withheld the passports of at least one survivor and threatened future employment opportunities.
The latest guilty pleas involving Cai, Wen and Lee were formally filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court on Monday. Cai has pleaded guilty to a sex trafficking charge and will have to serve eight years in prison, as well as register as a sex offender. Wen has pleaded guilty to labor trafficking and will have to serve five years in prison. Lee has pleaded guilty to money laundering and aiding and abetting after the fact, and, after already serving time in jail and house arrest, she will have to serve an additional year in prison. The fifth defendant is expected to be brought to justice on December 27 and the last defendant, Shao Lee, is currently considered a fugitive and still at large.
The initial withdrawal and charges in that case were the result of a joint effort led by the California Department of Justice and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. The operation and ongoing investigation also involved the Burlingame Police Department, California Franchise Tax Board, Concord Police Department, Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office, Family Safety Task Force. streets of Contra Costa, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Fremont Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Milpitas. Police Department, Newark Police Department, Oxnard Police Department, San Jose Police Department, San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, Trafficking Task Force Santa Clara County Humans, Santa Clara County Probation Department, Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, Santa Clara Police Department, Sunnyvale Police Department, and Tacoma Police Department.
The California Department of Justice case against the other two defendants is pending. It is important to note that criminal charges are only allegations against a person. Anyone accused is presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty. A copy of the amended complaint in the case is available here.