Ronald Spurlock, a pimp who goes by the moniker "Ro Dinero," was convicted Wednesday of human trafficking, pimping and pandering involving more than a half-dozen women working across Orange County.
A jury found Spurlock, 38, guilty of two felony counts of human trafficking, four felony counts of pimping, eight felony counts of pandering — a legal term for recruiting someone to work in prostitution — and one felony count of conspiring to dissuade a witness from testifying, according to Orange County Superior Court records.
Spurlock is scheduled to be sentenced June 16 at the North Justice Center in Fullerton. He faces a maximum of 34 years in state prison and mandatory lifetime registration as a sex offender.
Newport Beach police detectives arrested Spurlock on July 17, 2014, inside his $3,500-a-month, two-bedroom luxury apartment in a high-rise near John Wayne Airport.
In the months before his arrest, Newport detectives had pegged Spurlock as a key player in a lengthy drug investigation. They eventually determined that he was at the center of what appeared to be a lucrative sex trafficking and pimping operation, authorities said.
Investigators said they noticed that multiple women were frequently in Spurlock's company. They said they were able to identify some of them and match them to pictures found on a website known for prostitution advertisements. They said they watched while Spurlock and his 29-year-old girlfriend shuttled the women to and from appointments with prostitution clients.
One woman, who is in her 20s, told police that Spurlock knocked her down, savagely beat her and tried to strangle her when she declined to work at a strip club on Super Bowl Sunday, according to a detective's testimony.
The woman said Spurlock followed her to Las Vegas in March 2014 and forced her into his car, Newport Beach Det. Elijah Hayward testified.
The detective said the woman described the car peeling out of a hotel parking lot toward the desert while Spurlock flailed at her head and arm as punishment for "ho'ing behind his back."
"They ended up parking in a remote area, and he hit her repeatedly, screamed at her," Hayward testified. "She ... said she was convinced he was going to kill her at that point."
After his arrest, authorities alleged, Spurlock threatened his girlfriend from behind bars, fearing she would help police.
Orange County prosecutors contended that Spurlock was not just a pimp but also a trafficker who controlled his victims through abuse.
Spurlock's attorney argued that the women could come and go as they pleased.
Fry writes for Times Community News