Men used luxury cars, lavish apartments to lure young women in the Central Valley into prostitution
TULARE COUNTY – Two of the three people who operated a sex trafficking ring in Tulare County will serve more than 11 years in prison. The third member of the group will be sentenced next month.
On Jan. 16, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that Quinton Brown, 30, and Gerald Lavell Turner, 32, have pled guilty to multiple felony charges of sex trafficking of a minor. The defendants entered guilty pleas in Tulare County Superior Court. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Quinton Brown is expected to serve a 28-year sentence, and Gerald Turner is expected to serve an 11-year sentence. Brown was originally charged with 40 counts of pimping, sex trafficking as well as receiving stolen property. Turner was charged with six counts of pimping and sex trafficking. The third defendant, 32-year-old Mia McNeil, is expected back in court on Feb. 26. McNeil is charged with seven counts of identity theft, which the group used to fund their operation, and three counts of grand theft for stealing luxury cars and lavish apartments used to lure girls under the guise of glamorous careers.
“These guilty pleas are a prime example of how we will fight to ensure that justice is served upon those who commit the heinous crime of sex trafficking,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Delivering justice for victims of these crimes is a top priority for me as Attorney General. I want to thank all of the law enforcement agents and officers throughout the State who worked tirelessly on this investigation and who work every day to ensure Californians are safe. My team will continue to work to protect victims from sex trafficking and prosecute those who profit from the exploitation of human beings.”
In July 2017, the Attorney General filed 54 felony charges against Brown, Turner and McNeil, following a six-month investigation by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, and the Division of Law Enforcement of the California Department of Justice.
The criminal complaint alleged that Brown lured victims from the Central Valley and trafficked them throughout the State. It also alleged that Turner trafficked minors in the Central Valley and that McNeil fraudulently procured luxury vehicles, including a Maserati Levante and a Porsche Panamera, and apartments used to facilitate the trafficking. Turner has previous felony conviction for assault with a deadly weapon, robbery, attempting to escape from prison, and the use drugs in prison. Brown has a previous felony conviction for drug trafficking and robbery. McNeil has previous felonies for identify theft and grand theft.
The victims, including eight minors between the ages of 16 and 17, were sold for commercial sex throughout the Central Valley, Bay Area and Los Angeles. The investigation began when a mother contacted the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office in regards to her teenage daughter who had run away. Once it was discovered that she had been a victim of sex trafficking, the Sheriff’s Department identified multiple juvenile and adult victims (ages 18 to 21) of human trafficking from Tulare County.
Victims and survivors of human trafficking are encouraged to call any police department or the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 888-373-7888.