Fall River Woman Indicted in Connection with Trafficking Minors for Sex; “John” Charged with Rape of a Child
Human Trafficking Scheme Involved Minors in Fall River Area
FALL RIVER – As part of a human trafficking scheme, a Fall River woman has been indicted in connection with trafficking minors for sex, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today. A Fall River man has also been indicted for rape of a child.
“We allege that this defendant exploited and sold children for sex, sometimes up to five times in a night, and personally profited from this activity,” AG Coakley said. “We thank our federal and local partners for their invaluable assistance in this case.”
Olivia Lara (aka Missy), age 38, was indicted on Thursday by a Bristol County Grand Jury on the charges of Trafficking in Persons Under the Age of 18 for Sexual Servitude (3 counts) and Deriving Support from a Minor Prostitute (3 counts). Feliciano Ramirez, age 30, was indicted on the charge of Rape of Child. They will both be arraigned in Bristol Superior Court at a later date.
“I sincerely hope that this sends a very clear message,” said Bruce Foucart, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations Boston. “Human trafficking simply will not be tolerated in the 21st century, and HSI is committed to working in concert with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to protect those who cannot protect themselves. HSI continues to employ a victim-centered approach to these crimes and we urge victims to come forward.”
Lara and Ramirez were arrested on Jan. 15 in Fall River without incident by Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG’s Office. They were arraigned the next day in Fall River District Court, where Lara was held on $100,000 cash bail and Ramirez was held on $25,000 cash bail.
These charges are the result of a joint operation conducted by the Attorney General’s Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG’s Office, and the Fall River Police Department, with assistance from the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office and the New Bedford Police Department.
The investigation began in December 2013 when HSI received information from the New Bedford Police Department indicating that a female residing in Fall River was allegedly involved in the trafficking of underage females for sexual purposes in and around Fall River. Further investigation revealed that Lara, several minor victims, and adult male customers were allegedly involved in a human trafficking scheme.
Authorities allege that Lara would meet with adult male patrons inside of a Fall River bar and arrange for them to have sex for a fee with the minor victims, sometimes up to five times in one night.
Investigation revealed that Lara allegedly transported these minors for outcalls to a number of residences and that some of the sexual activity took place in vehicles around the Fall River area. Lara would allegedly expect to receive at least half of the profits from these encounters.
Authorities further allege that Ramirez was one of the male customers who engaged in sexual acts with one of the minor victims, facilitated and overseen by Lara.
These charges are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Deb Bercovitch, Chief of the AG’s Human Trafficking Unit, with assistance from Assistant Attorney General Cara Krysil, Chief of the AG’s Enterprise and Major Crimes Division, Investigator Jaclyn Morrill of AG Coakley’s Financial Investigations Division, Victim Witness Advocate Nikki Antonucci of the AG’s Victim Services Division, and Paralegals Lindsay Bonda and Emily Bartlett. The joint investigation was conducted by Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Attorney General’s Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation, the Fall River Police Department, and investigators from AG Coakley’s Computer Forensics Lab, with assistance from the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office and the New Bedford Police Department.
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