Two local gangs in San Diego located out of North Park have been indicted for a large compilation of criminal affairs. San Diego police and the FBI have arrested 17 gang members and associates who had direct involvement in the case, which is comprised primarily of sex trafficking crimes spread throughout the country, but also other crimes including murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, robbery, and drug trafficking. Three other suspects were arrested in Arizona and New Jersey and three remain yet to be found and brought to justice. Sadly, prostitution has became an increasingly profitable business for street gangs, whose members proudly flaunt their “pimp status” with gold chalices and scepters worth thousands of dollars on the internet through social media sites, showing the extent to which gang activity can spread. San Diego U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy stated on this issue, “The kind of sex trafficking described in this indictment is nothing less than modern-day slavery. Unfortunately, more gangs are expanding from traditional pursuits like drug dealing into this lucrative business.” Duffy also stated that this will be the second time her office has utilized the racketeering statute to pursue a street gang, the first in 2011 when 39 members of an Oceanside gang were indicted for charges involving the prostitution of women and underage girls. All defendants in the current case have been accused of luring young women and girls into prostitution either against their will or by methods of persuasion and manipulation. Shockingly, they are accused of traveling to several cities throughout 23 states and selling sex in local hotel rooms, acts that have accumulated 60 known female victims thus far, 11 who were minors as young as the age of 15. The defendants being held locally are set to make their first court appearance in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara Major.
In connection with the case, murder accusations date back to 1995 with the killing of a 20-year-old pizza deliveryman named Tariq Khamisa who was shot to death during a robbery believed to be executed by gang members. Authorities have also taken several illegal items into custody that were found during their arrests, including two guns, six luxury cars, more than 50 pairs of Air Jordan shoes, flat-screen televisions, thousands of dollars in cash, and multiple marijuana plants. The indictment states that the crimes were headed by a combination group of the two gangs in the North Park neighborhood that police have named “BMS”. Members of the group even went so far as to cross ties with other local street gangs for the management of prostitutes, hotel room booking, money handling, and the distribution of drugs. Attorney Duffy said, “Members of BMS are really akin to a crime family whose members were all working together to commit various crimes for one purpose. And that purpose was simply to earn money for the organization.” All the defendants recruited young girls and women into prostitution through various methods including threats, violence, and promising them a glamorous lifestyle, and then branded them as property with tattoos and bar codes. Many of the victims were picked up through popular social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Several of the defendants and their obedient victims were also found to have attended “Players’ Balls” parties which took place all throughout the country. These parties are intended to celebrate the gangsters, pimps, and prostitutes and glorify their so-called business ventures. The victims of this case have thus been pulled out of the horrific life they had fallen prisoner to and are being offered medical and psychological services.