WATCH: Toronto Police provide grim details following investigation into sex trafficking ring
TORONTO – Several members of a Toronto-based street gang called the Complex Crip Gangsters are under arrest in connection to a six-month human trafficking probe spanning several provinces across the country, Toronto police announced Wednesday.
It is alleged the suspects recruited girls and women between the ages of 15 to 33 from Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Alberta and forced them into the sex trade.
Police say their investigation began October 2014 through April 2015 which resulted in the arrests of nine suspects, with one still outstanding.
Investigators alleged the “pimps” would also surf the internet and befriend unsuspecting victims on social media websites.
VIDEO: Sex trafficking ring has been running ‘a significant’ amount of time in Toronto
Once in their hands, the women were forced to work and turn over all of their money earned.
“They get so beaten and so abused that they are afraid to actually then make the choice to try and leave,” said Inspector Joanna Beaven-Desjardins during a press conference Wednesday.
As a result of the investigation, several pre-dawn raids were executed on April 2 at apartment complexes located in the area of Jane Street and Wilson Avenue, and Kipling Avenue and Rexdale Boulevard.
The nine suspects currently face a total of 61 human trafficking and drug-related offences.
They have been identified as:
- Marcus Cumsille, 21, of Toronto
- Joel Edwards, 22, of Toronto
- Tyronne Matthews, 20, of Toronto
- Felix Funes Vasquez, 19, of Toronto
- Shane Hendry, 18, of Toronto
- Symisha Murray, 19, of Toronto
- Abdulwahab Sheikh, 18, of Toronto
- Keron Christie, 32, of Toronto
- Chanelle Espinosa, 20, of Toronto
- Levi Alexander, 19, of Toronto (Still outstanding)
The investigation and search warrants also allowed police to seize a number of items such as electronic devices, various drugs such as cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, documents relating to various hotels and motels used by the victims, cash and stolen property.
Police say four victims came forward as a result of the probe but are asking anyone with information to come forward.
The investigation follows a series of arrests made in connection to several separate underage sex trafficking cases.
On Wednesday, police announced the arrest of 19-year-old Camille Beausejour in connection to a human trafficking investigation involving a 17-year-old girl.
A 20-year-old man was also arrested this week for allegedly forcing an underage girl into the sex trade.
VIDEO: How does the Toronto underage sex trafficking ring lure it’s victims?