Three people arrested and charged in connection with an alleged large-scale sex trafficking ring based in the San Ramon Valley are scheduled to appear in court for arraignment on Friday.
Danville resident James Joseph Jr., 50, and his common-law wife, 34-year-old Avisa Lavassani, remain in custody on charges of human trafficking, conspiracy to commit human trafficking and other counts, according to the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office. Their bail is set at $4 million each.
Anthony Reynolds, 42, of Oakley is accused of aiding in the nationwide operation and sits in jail on $1 million bail, according to the DA's office.
Authorities allege Joseph and Lavassani led a sex trafficking operation that was centered in San Ramon and Danville and stretched from California to Cleveland, to Miami and to New York, serving some high-end clients and netting the couple tens of thousands of dollars per week utilizing multiple trafficking victims at once.
Investigators have identified at least six women victimized in the sex trafficking ring over the past 14 years, according to prosecutor Aron DeFerrari.
San Ramon police began investigating the couple in April after receiving information obtained through prior victims, according to the DA's office. A months-long wire-tap and field-surveillance effort ensued, also involving DA's office investigators and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force.
The multi-agency investigation resulted in the defendants' arrest last Thursday, authorities said.