Lakewood man accused of running human trafficking, prostitution ring out of Norwalk escort service

NORWALK A sheriff’s task force arrested a Lakewood man and seized 13 guns while dismantling an alleged prostitution and human trafficking ring operating out of a Norwalk escort service last week, authorities announced Wednesday.
Omar Nicandro Sanchez, 37, is also accused of sexually assaulting at least one woman and one underage girl who worked for his illegal escort business, “Bombshells,” which operated out of an office at Studebaker and Leffingwell roads in Norwalk according to California High Patrol Investigator Kerri Rivas of the L.A. Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, who served as the lead investigator on the case.
The multi-agency task force arrested him Friday at the business, she said. He was released from custody two days later after posting $420,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled April 28 in the Norwalk branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
In a written statement, sheriff’s officials described Bombshells as, “an illegal escort business, which supplied women for commercial sex to paying customers.”
Furthermore, “Mr. Sanchez victimized some of the women who worked at the agency and sold their sexual services for money,” Rivas said.
At least one of the sexual assault victims was a juvenile, she said.
The purported Escort service was believed to have been operating in Norwalk for two to three years, Rivas said. It used vague advertisement on websites such as Backpage.com to solicit Johns.
The investigation was ongoing, and investigators were still working to determined exactly how many victims were involved.
Sanchez faces expected charges of human trafficking related to the underage victim, as well as pimping and pandering charges in connection with the adults, Rivas said. He also faces potential charges of rape and sexual assault of a minor.
Additionally, Sanchez is expected to face numerous weapon-related charges after investigator seized 13 guns, including several AR-15 and AK-47-style weapons. “Because of a previous felony conviction, Sanchez is prohibited from possessing firearms,” according to the sheriff’s department statement.
The cache of weapons was seized from Sanchez’s home, vehicle and a storage unit he had rented, Rivas said.
Investigators also seized cash believed to be proceeds from the illicit operation, officials said.
The bust was the culmination of a six-month-long investigation that began when some of the victims came forward, Rivas said.
Investigators are seeking any potential additional victims of Sanchez or his operation, she said. Anyone with information can reach the L.A. Regional Human Trafficking Task Force at 323-526-5156. Tips may also be submitted anonymously online to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

PHOTOS courtesy of the L.A. Regional Human Trafficking Task Force

Article source: http://www.insidesocal.com/sgvcrime/2017/04/12/man-accused-running-human-trafficking-prostitution-ring-norwalk-escort-service/