12 arrested in gang-based sex-trafficking ring

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DENVER (KKCO) – Twelve people have been arrested in connection with a sex-trafficking ring that spanned from Denver to Colorado Springs.

Eight suspects are accused of running the criminal operation that trafficked and pimped underage girls, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office says.

The girls were listed for sale on Backpage.com, where “johns” could hire them for sex acts. When they weren’t doing “out calls” or “in calls,” the girls would be required to “walk the track”-- or engage in street-level prostitution, according to a 36-count grand jury indictment.

Three of the accused are self-reported members of the Crips gang. Four suspected “johns” were arrested in the bust.

All suspects face charges relating to sex trafficking in Denver, Aurora, Commerce City, Lakewood, Parker and Colorado Springs.

The indictment shows that the self-reported gang members in custody are Lawrence Richard Martinez, 22; Reginald James Ryan, 31; and Angela Jeanine Ryan, 42.

Robert Kenth Drinkwater-Mills, 19; Lewis Jerome Smith, 42; Mercedes Devon Sanders, 22; Phaedra Lanee Robinson, 42; and Hollie Gene Mintour, 40, are suspected of making up the criminal enterprise, says the attorney general’s office.

The accused “johns” are Hayatullah Khazi, 28; Grant Richard Schoengarth, 32; Richard Neil Gottbreht, 63; and Nathan Theodore Hom, 36. They are charged with sexual assault and patronizing a prostituted child, among other charges.

The underage girls are being treated at undisclosed facilities, according to the attorney general’s office.

The multi-agency Innocence Lost Task Force laid the groundwork of the investigation, working with the attorney general’s office and FBI-led Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force to secure an indictment.

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