SANTA ANA, Calif. – A third-striker was arraigned today on charges of human trafficking, pimping, and pandering two women, and destroying or concealing evidence from law enforcement. Dagan Nkosi Weed, 31, Los Angeles, is charged with one felony count of human trafficking, two felony counts of pimping, two felony counts of pandering, and one misdemeanor count of destroying or concealing evidence. Weed also faces sentencing enhancements for four prior strike convictions for robbery in 2001 and 2006, and commercial burglary in 2003, all in Los Angeles County, and serving a prison term of one year or more not remaining free from custody for more than five years. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 62 years to life in state prison. The defendant is being held on $550,000 bail and must prove that the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond. Weed is scheduled for pre-trial on Oct. 29, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Circumstances of the Case
Weedis accused of being a human trafficker/pimp who exploits women for financial gain. Victims often are required to turn over all payment they receive for sex acts from sex purchasers to their pimp. Failure to follow these rules can result in physical and/or emotional abuse.
Between Oct. 1, 2015, and Oct. 21, 2015, Weed is accused of trafficking Jane Doe 1 from Las Vegas, Nevada, to Orange County and forcing her to engage in performing commercial sex acts for his benefit. The defendant is accused of forcing Jane Doe 1 to give him all of the money that she received from sex purchasers and threatening her with physical violence if she did not obey his instructions. The defendant is also accused of forcing Jane Doe 1 to engage in commercial sex seven days a week and not allowing her to stop soliciting commercial sex until she had met strict monetary quotas that he set.
During that time, Weed is also accused of pandering Jane Doe 2 by convincing her to perform commercial sex acts for his benefit. The defendant is accused of requiring Jane Doe 2 to give him all of the money that she received from sex purchasers.
Members of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) investigated this case and contacted the defendant in a vehicle with Jane Doe 2 near the location where Jane Doe 1 was working on Oct. 20, 2015. Weed is accused of having a clear bag with a white substance inside it and destroying it before OCHTTF could investigate the nature of the substance.
Members of the OCHTTF and the Orange County District Attorney's (OCDA) Office work proactively to protect women and minors from falling victim to commercial sexual exploitation. This case was investigated by OCHTTF, a partnership between the Anaheim Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Huntington Beach Police Department, Irvine Police Department, OCDA, Orange County Sheriff's Department, and community and non-profit partners.
Deputy District Attorney Bryan Clavecilla of the HEAT Unit is prosecuting this case.
Proposition 35 and HEAT
In November 2012, California's anti-human trafficking Proposition 35 (Prop 35) was enacted in California with 81 percent of the vote, and over 82 percent of the vote in Orange County, to increase the penalty for human trafficking, particularly in cases involving the trafficking of a minor by force.
A component of the OCHTTF is the OCDA's Human Exploitation And Trafficking (HEAT) Unit, which targets perpetrators who sexually exploit and traffic women and underage girls for financial gain, including pimps, panderers, and human traffickers. The HEAT Unit uses a tactical plan called PERP:Prosecution, to bring justice for victims of human trafficking and hold perpetrators responsible using Prop 35;Education, to provide law enforcement training to properly handle human trafficking and pandering cases;Resources from public-private partnerships to raise public awareness about human trafficking and provide assistance to the victims; andPublicity, to inform the public and send a message to human traffickers that this crime cannot be perpetrated without suffering severe consequences.
Under the law, human trafficking is described as depriving or violating the personal liberty of another person with the intent to effect a violation of pimping or pandering. Pimping is described as knowingly deriving financial support in whole or in part from the proceeds of prostitution. Pandering is the act of persuading or procuring an individual to become a prostitute, or procuring and/or arranging for a person work in a house of prostitution.
Penal Code Section 236.1 defines:
(1) “Coercion” includes any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process; debt bondage; or providing and facilitating the possession of any controlled substance to a person with the intent to impair the person's judgment.
(2) “Commercial sex act” means sexual conduct on account of which anything of value is given or received by any person.
(3) “Deprivation or violation of the personal liberty of another” includes substantial and sustained restriction of another's liberty accomplished through force, fear, fraud, deceit, coercion, violence, duress, menace, or threat of unlawful injury to the victim or to another person, under circumstances where the person receiving or apprehending the threat reasonably believes that it is likely that the person making the threat would carry it out.
(4) “Duress” includes a direct or implied threat of force, violence, danger, hardship, or retribution sufficient to cause a reasonable person to acquiesce in or perform an act which he or she would otherwise not have submitted to or performed; a direct or implied threat to destroy, conceal, remove, confiscate, or possess any actual or purported passport or immigration document of the victim; or knowingly destroying, concealing, removing, confiscating, or possessing any actual or purported passport or immigration document of the victim.
(5) “Forced labor or services” means labor or services that are performed or provided by a person and are obtained or maintained through force, fraud, duress, or coercion, or equivalent conduct that would reasonably overbear the will of the person.
(6) “Great bodily injury” means a significant or substantial physical injury.
(7) “Minor” means a person less than 18 years of age.
(8) “Serious harm” includes any harm, whether physical or nonphysical, including psychological, financial, or reputational harm, that is sufficiently serious, under all the surrounding circumstances, to compel a reasonable person of the same background and in the same circumstances to perform or to continue performing labor, services, or commercial sexual acts in order to avoid incurring that harm.
(i) The total circumstances, including the age of the victim, the relationship between the victim and the trafficker or agents of the trafficker, and any handicap or disability of the victim, shall be factors to consider in determining the presence of “deprivation or violation of the personal liberty of another,” “duress,” and “coercion” as described in this section.
Orange County District Attorney / Case # 15CF2405 / October 21, 2015
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