LAKEWOOD, Colo. — Five men and one woman have been arrested on child sex trafficking charges in Jefferson County, First Judicial District Attorney Peter Weir said Thursday.
One additional suspect remains at large, police said.
The investigation began in November of 2012 when one alleged victim reported to a counselor that she had been sexually assaulted by a man named Daniel, who was later identified as Daniel Onodera, the alleged ringleader of a child prostitution ring, Weir’s office said.
There were three female victims identified in the operation, one 13-year-old and two 16-year-olds. The girls did not know each other, but had each run away from home, were truant from school and had been lured into prostitution by drugs, police said.
Through the course of the investigation, large operation was reportedly uncovered in which young girls were given meth and forced to have sex with members of the ring, their associates or strangers in exchange for money or drugs.
The criminal activity is alleged to have been based out of the Timberleaf Apartments in Lakewood, between December 2011 and November 2012, police said. According to court records, one or more of the defendants leased, or lived in, apartments at the complex.
Two of the victims are alleged to have been sexually assaulted by members of the organization and were also forced to have sex with strangers while Onodera or others received money or drugs in payment.
“Human Traficking, the trafficking of children for prostitution, is a serious issue in Jefferson County and throughout the Denver metro area. Those who engage in this activity target and groom the most vulnerable of our youth,” said Weir. “The dismantling of this group disrupts their operations and is a significant step towards protecting other children from being lured into this sexually exploitive environment.”
Onodera faces multiple charges ranging from human trafficking to violent crimes.