9 SoCal Residents Arrested on Suspicion of Participating in Large-Scale International Sex Trafficking Ring

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Federal authorities have accused nine Southern California residents of participating in a large-scale, international sex trafficking ring that abused and enslaved hundreds of Thai women who had been recruited with promises of a better life in the U.S.

The nine defendants were among 20 people arrested Wednesday in Los Angeles, San Diego, Dallas, Austin, Houston and Chicago in connection with the sex trafficking and money laundering operation, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Minnesota.

An eight-count federal indictment unsealed Friday charges Michael Morris, 63, of Seal Beach; Chatarak Taufflieb 51, of San Jose; Peerachet Thipboonngam, 57, of Los Angeles; Pornthep Sukprasert, 40, of Huntington Beach; Mulchulee Chalermsakulrat, 39, of Huntington Beach; Bhunna Win, 49, of San Diego; Natchanok Yuvasuta, 50, of Los Angeles; Nattaya Leelarungrayab, 45, of Los Angeles and Veerapon Ghettalae, 55, of Lake Elsinore.

Federal authorities said the defendants had high-level roles in the sophisticated, international criminal enterprise that forced women to engage in sex acts to financially benefit the organization. The ring operated from January 2009 to May 2017.

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