California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced today that he had secured three guilty pleas in an organized crime trafficking ring bust, according to a press release.
The ring operated throughout California. It has been accused of engaging in sex trafficking, labor trafficking, and money laundering. Officials say it used a website called Backpage to post advertisements for sex.
All three defendants who pleaded guilty were Asian. Pengcheng Cai pleaded guilty to one charge of sex trafficking and will serve eight years in prison.
Peishin Lee pleaded guilty to money laundering and being an accessory after the fact. Lee has already served time in jail and on home detention. She will be required to serve an additional year in jail.
Dafeng Wen pleaded guilty to labor trafficking. Wen will serve five years in prison.
All three defendants were accused of committing multiple felonies from 2015 to 2019. Their arrests came as a result of a larger bust.
“Whether it’s trafficking, money laundering, or any other crime, California is committed to holding those who break the law accountable,” Attorney General Bonta, said according to a press release. “The guilty pleas we’ve announced today demonstrate what we can achieve when we work together. Through grit and collaboration, we’re dismantling organized crime and disrupting human trafficking in our state. Bottom line: Everybody deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.”
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