Dismantling of a Human Trafficking Organization

Ventura County Sheriff – Incident Press Release

Starting in January 2021, Human Trafficking Investigators assigned to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Special Crimes Unit received information that sex and labor trafficking was taking place at several massage parlors and skin care businesses in Ventura County.  These businesses were owned and operated by a family living in the Inland Empire.  These illicit businesses were being operated under fictitious names and were in the counties of Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino.

As the investigation proceeded, investigators learned suspects primarily targeted women from Mexico to work in these illicit businesses, some of whom were living in Southern California on United States Refugee Visas. Investigators also learned the suspects utilized human smugglers to recruit women in Mexico and bring them into the United States to work in these illicit businesses.  Once these women were recruited, sex advertisements were placed on various internet sites depicting them. These sex advertisements would describe pricing, the type of sexual encounter, and which illicit business the women were working.  These advertisements were updated daily, and the females were rotated throughout the Southern California businesses owned by the suspects.

Investigators identified six sex and labor trafficking businesses throughout Southern California which were owned and operated by the suspects. Additionally, investigators identified a fashion boutique which was owned by the suspects to launder the proceeds from the illicit sex businesses. Proceeds from these businesses were funneled through the fashion boutique to make the proceeds appear legal so the suspects could pay car payments, mortgages, and other expenses.  

The Human Trafficking Organization was primarily operated by a sister and brother team named Olga and Carlos Paredes.  Olga Paredes oversaw all the illicit businesses, met with managers regarding the work of the women, and opened new businesses under fictitious names.  Carlos Parades managed several of the illicit businesses, collected daily payment receipts from all the businesses, recruited the females, and posted sex advertisements. 

Flor De Maria Evora, who is Carlos Paredes’ girlfriend, and Jaime Vasquez, who is the nephew of Carlos and Olga Paredes, managed the daily accounting sheets and proceeds for all the businesses.  Olga Ramirez, the daughter of Olga Paredes, managed the fashion boutique and assisted her mother with opening new sex and labor trafficking businesses. The Matriarch of the family, Maria Del Refugio Garcia, who is the mother of Olga and Carlos Paredes, lives in Mexico and provided guidance and direction on the operations of the illicit businesses. Maria Del Refugio Garcia also opened bank accounts in Mexico to funnel proceeds from these businesses out of the United States. 

Bruce Pineda, Ismael Reyes, and Hector Prado Ramos who were not related to the suspects, managed three separate illicit businesses for them. 

On March 2, 2021, search warrants were served at the businesses and several residences. As a result of these warrants, numerous trafficked females were located and provided services through human trafficking victim service providers. Large sums of cash were seized from the locations that are believed to be proceeds of sex trafficking and money laundering.    

Olga Paredes, Flor De Maria Evora, Olga Ramirez, Jaime Vasquez, Bruce Pineda, Ismael Reyes, and Hector Prado Ramos were arrested for California Penal Code 182(a) [Conspiracy to Commit a Crime], California Penal Code 236.1 [Human Trafficking], California Penal Code 266h(a) [Pimping], and California Penal Code 266i(a) [Pandering].  All the subjects arrested were booked at the Pre-Trial Detention Facility.  All charges are pending review by the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office. 

At the time of the search warrants, Carlos Paredes was not located, and Maria Del Refugio Garcia was believed to be in Mexico.  Arrest warrants for California Penal Code 182(a) [Conspiracy to Commit a Crime], California Penal Code 236.1 [Human Trafficking], California Penal Code 266h(a) [Pimping], and California Penal Code 266i(a) [Pandering] are pending on Carlos Paredes and Maria Del Refugio Garcia. 

The Special Crimes Unit Human Trafficking investigators are part of the Ventura County Human Trafficking Task Force which is made up of members from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, Ventura Police Department, Santa Paula Police Department, Simi Valley Police Department, Oxnard Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations, California Department of Justice, and several victim service providers. The primary mission of the task force is combatting sex and/or labor trafficking of humans within Ventura County.  The Ventura County Task force works closely with surrounding cities and counties to fulfill their mission.

Detectives encourage victims to contact “211” or local law enforcement if you believe you are a victim or know a victim of human trafficking to be connected with services.

 

Olga Ramirez

Olga Paredes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jaime Vasquez

Flor De Maria Evora

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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