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Trio indicted for alleged San Ramon Valley sex trafficking operation

Court appearance set for Tuesday morning

Three people were indicted last week by a Contra Costa County grand jury in connection with a 14-year sex trafficking ring centered in San Ramon and Danville, prosecutors announced Monday.

James Joseph Jr. and Avisa Lavassani were indicted April 18 for conspiracy to commit human trafficking, human trafficking, kidnap for rape, kidnap for extortion and rape, according to the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office.

A man accused of assisting the duo's alleged operation, Anthony Reynolds, has also been indicted for conspiracy to commit human trafficking and human trafficking, prosecutors said.

This comes after an investigation that began on March 2015 into a prostitution ring based primarily in San Ramon and Danville that extended as far as Miami and New York, prosecutors said.

Authorities allege Joseph and Lavassani were earning tens of thousands of dollars a week and had multiple human trafficking victims at a time.

The investigation, which included wiretapping and field surveillance, was launched by the San Ramon Police Department and was run jointly with the county district attorney's office and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, which includes many law enforcement agencies.

After gathering evidence, Joseph and Lavassani were arrested on Aug. 20, prosecutors said.

"This was teamwork at its finest," deputy district attorney Aron DeFerrari said in a statement. "(These agencies) came together and the result (was) removing some dangerous and violent individuals from the streets."

In a statement, San Ramon police chief Joseph Gorton called the defendants "modern-day slavers."

"The case ... illustrates that there is no typical human trafficking victim; it can happen to anyone, anywhere, including Danville and San Ramon," Gorton added.

Anyone who was a victim of the trafficking operation — or knows someone else who was — has been asked to call San Ramon police Detective Matthew Malone at 973-2746.

Joseph and Lavassani are slated to appear in a Martinez courtroom on Tuesday morning for an arraignment.

— Bay City News Service

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Comments

Like this comment
Posted by MotoJB
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 27, 2016 at 8:59 am

No punishment is too great for this kind of scum...I truly hope they get life in prison...and get their own treatment while behind bars!!


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