Prostitution stings remain controversial in part because many observers see such acts as victimless crimes -- except when a sex worker is the victim.
That was allegedly the case for a 28-year-old woman, who says she was brought from Missouri to Colorado and forced to prostitute herself -- offenses for which Edwin Coriano and Alena Rust have been formally charged. Photos, probable cause statements and details below.
Rust's Facebook page remains online at this writing and includes self-portraits like this one....
and this one.... ...as well as an image from April that shows her alongside someone who looks a lot like Coriano: Around two months later, on June 19, Rust and Coriano posed individually for a very different type of photo owing to reasons outlined in probable cause statements on view below.
According to the documents, the FBI Rocky Mountain Innocence Lost Task Force was conducting an undercover operation when an investigator stumbled upon an ad for "Nikita" in the adult entertainment/escort section of Backpage.com. (The site was previously associated with Westword via the paper's parent company, but all connections between this publication and backpage.com have been severed.)
An undercover investigator called the number in the ad and made arrangements to meet "Nikita" in room 244 of the Howard Johnson outlet at 4765 North Federal Boulevard. Upon contacting her, they learned that the "people making her do this" were very nearby, in room 242.
The couple in room 242 turned out to be Rust and Coriano. She was arrested right away, while he was eventually taken into custody after initially refusing to come out.
Afterward, "Nikita" told investigators that the pair had transported her from Missouri to Denver and "confined her to a room and made her conduct acts of prostitution." She also claimed she had to give all the money she earned to Coriano.
The Denver District Attorney's Office has now charged Coriano and Rust with three felonies apiece: trafficking in adults, pimping and pandering. Their next court appearance is slated for July 15.
Look below to see mug shots for Coriano and Rust, followed by their probable cause statements.
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More from our News archive circa February 21: "Aubrey Lloyd, human trafficking survivor, tells her story of victimization and redemption."