An inmate at the Jefferson County Jail is accused of operating a sex trafficking ring while serving time behind bars.
According to the state Attorney General's Office, 30 year old Eric Oliver of Syracuse directed the ring by making phone calls from the jail even though he was warned that the calls could be recorded.
Records show Oliver served time in the Jefferson County Jail from September 27, 2012 to October 17, 2012 for second-degree promoting prostitution.
Oliver and two other people, 19 year old Tirra Pate of Syracuse and 19 year old Jessica Moro of Cicero, were arrested.
According to the AG's office, the trio preyed on women as young as 15 years old, recruiting them to work as prostitutes.
In certain instances, the suspects intimidated the women with the use of physical force to compel them to commit acts of prostitution.
In other cases, the trio provided cocaine, heroin and the drug MDMA (known as "molly") to the prostitutes in order for them to continue working.
The ring allegedly operated in Syracuse, Watertown, Ithaca and elsewhere in New York state.
According to the AG, Oliver called Moro and Pate from jails in Watertown and Ithaca during the past year to direct them to transport prostitutes to various locations.
He also phoned Moro from jail with instructions to provide drugs to a prostitute to get her to work.
According to a news release from the AG's office:
"Members of the sex trafficking ring were so brazen that, despite the fact that Eric Oliver was twice incarcerated over the past year - once in Watertown and once in Ithaca - and despite the fact that each time Eric Oliver made a telephone call from jail, he was warned that the call could be recorded, Oliver directed Moro and Pate from jail to transport prostitutes to various locations-and in the case of Moro, to provide drugs to a prostitute to get her to work."
The suspects were arraigned Tuesday in Onondaga County Court.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department was involved in the bust.
"We were asked to assist in the case with the attorney general and the state police. We assisted them in a couple surveillance episodes," said Undersheriff Paul Trudeau. "This is not something we want in our neighborhood and we definitely feel for the individuals that may be involved."
Oliver faces charges including two counts of sex trafficking that can land him in prison for 10 to 25 years, compelling prostitution, promoting prostitution in the 2nd and 3rd degrees, rape in the 3rd degree and conspiracy in the 5th Degree.
Moro faces facing charges of promoting prostitution in the 2nd and 3rd degrees and conspiracy in the 5th degree, sex trafficking,promoting prostitution in the 3rd degree and conspiracy in the 5th degree.
Pate faces charges of sex trafficking, promoting prostitution in the 3rd degree and conspiracy in the 5th degree.
The investigation was conducted by Senior Investigator Peter Burns of the New York State Police Special Investigations Unit, Investigator Michael Pastuf of the New York State Police, Troop D Bureau of Criminal Investigations and Detective Dawn Daly of the Syracuse Police Missing Persons Unit. The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, Jefferson County District Attorney's Office, Tompkins County Sheriff's Office, Onondaga County Sheriff's Office and Onondaga County District Attorney's Office also provided valuable assistance.
See AG's news release
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