Updated: On February 14, we told you about the arrest of six people as part of an alleged child-prostitution ring based in Lakewood, with members accused of luring three underage girls -- including one who was just thirteen -- with meth and other drugs. At the time of our original report, however, Mark Wayne Turitice, a seventh person said to have been involved in the criminal enterprise, remained at large.
No more. He's reportedly now in custody, too. Get details and see photos of the suspects below.
As we've reported, the First Judicial District DA's office has spent more than a year trying to bust the ring.
According to the DA's office, the investigation got underway in November 2012, when one of the victims in the case told a counselor that she'd been sexually assaulted by a man named Daniel.
Daniel Onodera, the alleged ring leader, was subsequently identified as the Daniel in question.
The three victims -- two were sixteen, the other three years younger -- apparently didn't know each other, but prosecutors say they had plenty in common. All of them were runaways, and each is said to have been lured into prostitution via drugs; 9News reports that Xanax and cocaine were among the substances offered, but the primary enticement was meth.
From December 2011 to November 2012, the operational base for Onodera and his pals was allegedly the Timberleaf Apartments, at 1388 Garrison in Lakewood. At least two of the girls say they were sexually assaulted by members of Onodera's clique, as well as being forced to have sex with strangers. Payment for these services was allegedly made in either money or drugs.
A chart on view below depicts Turturice as having had sex with one of the girls. But authorities believe he was far more than just a customer.
Onodera has the longest list of charges, including trafficking of a child, pimping of a child, sex assault of a child, solicitation of a child for prostitution, pandering, keeping a place of child prostitution, child prostitution-inducement, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and a couple of violent crime counts tossed in for good measure.
And his associates? Marshall Ashton faces counts of keeping a place of child prostitution and contributing to the delinquency of a minor; Zelian Shaw is up on two contributing-to-the-delinquency-of-a-minor beefs, while Pamela Lewis and Kevin Snuggs face one; and Nickolas Silk's contributing-to-the-delinquency-of-a-minor accusation is accompanied by one pertaining to a pattern of child sexual assault.
And Turtirice? A Mugshots.com entry lists an August 2013 arrest for trespassing, which required him to pay a whopping $30 bond -- but he's facing more serious charges this time around. He's suspected of child prostitution, patronizing, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Look below to see mug shots of the six suspects who were previously arrested, plus a larger look at a Turturice booking pic and the aforementioned photo-illustrated chart depicting the ring's dynamics. Also on hand is a 9News report.
Continue to see more photos of alleged child-sex-traffickers, plus a chart and a video. Continue to see a photo of a ring member currently at large, plus a chart and a video.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive circa August 2013: "Meth ring roundup: See photos of those busted in Operation Bad Nickname."
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