Charges have been filed against a man and a woman accused of forcing three missing teen girls to perform sexual acts for the pair’s financial benefit, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday.
Mycal Brandon Ruff, 32, of Carson and Dezere Renee Romero, 31, of San Bernardino were both charged with three counts of human trafficking of a minor for a commercial sex act, a DA’s news release stated.
Romero was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday, while Ruff’s arraignment date is Sept. 21.
They each face a possible maximum sentence of 17 years, four months in prison if convicted on the charges.
The pair, from San Bernardino, allegedly made the victims engage in commercial sex work for money, prosecutors said.
The victims — ages 15, 16, and 17 — had been reported missing from their hometowns of Long Beach, San Bernardino and Hemet, according to the Long Beach Police Department.
The human trafficking investigation began Aug. 13, after detectives arranged to meet a minor being prostituted in Long Beach, a police news release stated.
Authorities said she agreed to let them search her phone, which uncovered two other juvenile victims and led to their rescue on Aug. 14 and 26, officials said.
The three girls told investigators that Ruff forced them into prostitution and that Romero helped manage them on the male suspect’s behalf, according to the release.
Ruff was arrested on Aug. 28, while Romero was apprehended on Sept. 3. Their booking photos have not been released.
The Police Department’s Vice Investigation Detail is continuing its investigation into the case.