Posted: Jan 28, 2021 / 1:55 PM PST
Updated: Jan 28, 2021 / 1:57 pm PST
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – The US Attorney’s Office on Thursday sent a press release regarding the arrests at the Desert Star Motel, which authorities have labeled a “modern brothel.”
As reported by 17 News on Monday, the press release said the motel’s owner, Jatinbhai Bhakta, 29, and General Manager Roy Drees, 45, are charged with using interstate trade facilities for the benefit of a criminal enterprise and each Can be fined up to five years in prison and fined $ 250,000 if convicted. Bhakta bought the motel in 2015 on S. Union Ave. 516, and both men lived there.
“Since 2015, the Bakersfield Police Department has made numerous prostitution-related arrests on the property,” the press release said. In May 2019, an investigation confirmed that Darnell Edwards had forced two underage women into prostitution at Desert Star. On November 7, 2019, Edwards was charged with sex trafficking in minors. When a search warrant was issued at Desert Star on January 22, 2021, fifteen prostitutes and three pimps were found. Drees and Bhakta were arrested at the time. “
The press release listed the federal and state resources available for human trafficking, such as: For example, the Department of Justice website and the California Attorney General website.
If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, contact the Homeland Security Investigations Blue Campaign at 1-866-347-2423 or the national human trafficking hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or the text 233733.
Report missing children, child pornography or sexual exploitation of a child online to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST (843-5678) or https://report.cybertip.org/.