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24 alleged pimps indicted in San Diego, 60 victims rescued

By Tony Perry

4:25 PM PST, January 8, 2014

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SAN DIEGO -- Twenty-four street-gang members and associates have been indicted on charges of conspiring to run an interstate prostitution ring, federal officials announced Wednesday.

Of the 24 indicted, 14 face possible life sentences in prison because the charges against them include sex trafficking of minors and sex trafficking by violence.

Arrests were made in San Diego, Arizona and New Jersey. The organization is known as BMS, which is a combination of the Black MOB and Skanless gangs, officials said.

The indictments provide an inside look at the lucrative business of prostitution, including the fact that pimps hold invitation-parties in San Diego, Las Vegas and elsewhere. A pimp party is known as a "Players Ball."

At a national "Players Ball," one of the defendants received an award as pimp of the year.

Pimps also have a liking for chalices and scepters, known as Pimp Cups and Pimp Sticks, according to the indictment. Also, pimps "often" have removable dental "grills" made of gold and costing thousands of dollars.

As part of the indictments, the U.S. attorney is seeking forfeiture of such trophies, including the dental "grills."

In serving search warrants in San Diego and Arizona, San Diego police and the FBI seized six luxury cars, numerous sticks and cups, flat-screen televisions, marijuana plants and more than 50 pairs of Air Jordan shoes.

Of the 60 sex-trafficking victims, 11 were minors, officials said. Some of the victims were "branded" with tattoos of gang monikers, bar codes or the name of their pimp.

All 60 victims were "offered resources to help them start a new life," officials said.

"The kind of sex trafficking described in this indictment is nothing less than modern-day slavery," said U.S. Atty. Laura Duffy. "Unfortunately, more gangs are expanding from drug dealing into this lucrative business."

Pimps "recruited" girls and women from San Diego's El Cajon Boulevard, an area known for prostitutes. Social media and rap videos on YouTube were also used, according to the indictments.

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Twitter: @LATsandiego

tony.perry@latimes.com