Child-trafficking ring has GJ tie
Fourteen people have been arrested in connection with a human-trafficking ring that brought teenage girls to Grand Junction and other Colorado cities for prostitution.
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced Monday he secured an indictment against four men suspected of running the ring: Patrick Lloyd McGowan, 22, Chad Armand Gow, 20, Roy Manuel Ibarra-Gonzales, 20, and Bryan Steven Burns, 20. The men and 10 others linked to the ring were arrested over the weekend, Suthers said.
The four suspected ringleaders are suspected of charges including trafficking of children, pimping of a child, and inducement of child prostitution. McGowan is also accused of distribution of methamphetamine and cocaine. According to the indictment, he sold methamphetamine to undercover officers in December at a Denver Taco Bell and at Casa Bonita in Lakewood, then attempted to sneak nearly 15 grams of methamphetamine into the Jefferson County Jail by placing it in his underwear.
The four ringleaders allegedly recruited five girls, all under the age of 18, to perform acts of prostitution last January through June, Suthers said. The girls, who were not arrested, were sometimes brought to hotel rooms in Grand Junction, Glenwood Springs, Denver, Boulder and Lakewood to use drugs and alcohol and perform sexual acts for money, according to the indictment. At least two of the girls traveled to hotels in Grand Junction to perform acts of prostitution.
Eight people named in the indictment are suspected of providing a place for the incidents of prostitution to occur and/or driving the girls to places where they performed sex acts for money. One of the eight, Matthew Anthony Dominguez, 20, is also suspected along with Gow of holding down one of the suspected prostitutes and making sexual contact with her without her consent in August in a Boulder hotel room.
One person named in the indictment was a frequent patron of the prostitution ring and another is suspected of destroying evidence by deleting Ibarra-Gonzales’ Facebook account and another computer account.
The men arranged meetings for the girls with clients through the website Backpage.com, a site where people can post classified ads for adult services. Suthers said his office has repeatedly asked the site to “be more corporately responsible” for its postings. He said so far the site hasn’t responded with any major changes.
The case, brought to the attorney general’s attention by the Wheat Ridge and Lakewood police departments, will be prosecuted by the attorney general’s office in Jefferson County District Court with assistance from the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office. Suthers said the four human-trafficking ringleaders could face as many as 24 years behind bars.
Suthers called the case “very disturbing” and said he hopes it teaches people human trafficking is not just a problem in other countries.
“People should not think we in Colorado are immune to this type of thing,” he said.