SANTA CLARITA (CNS) — Two men and a woman are in custody on suspicion of human trafficking, authorities said.
Michael Shaw, 36 of Santa Clarita, Eric Hamwey, 31, of Encino, and Ashley Peart, 26, of Santa Clarita were arrested on May 5 and booked on suspicion of human trafficking, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Shaw was held in lieu of $300,000 bail, Hamwey in lieu of $200,000 bail, and Peart in lieu of $50,000 bail.
On Monday, May 9, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office at the San Fernando Courthouse filed two counts of human trafficking and one count of dissuading a witness against Shaw. He faces a possible 25 years in state prison.
One count each of human trafficking was filed against Hamwey and Peart.
They face a possible 20 years in state prison.
The investigation was conducted by members of the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Taskforce. It began when deputies at the Santa Clarita Valley Station learned that Shaw “was trafficking an adult victim for sex and had violently assaulted her when she attempted to flee,” a sheriff’s statement said. “Suspect Shaw fled the location prior to the deputies’ arrival.”
“Investigators learned that Hamwey had previously befriended the victim on Instagram and flown her out to California from Texas for the purpose of commercial adult sex work,” the statement said. “After a short time, Suspect Hamwey ‘sold’ the victim to suspect Shaw.”
The investigation led to search warrants being served at various locations on May 5, resulting in the three arrests.
“During the service of the warrants, a second victim — a female adult — of human sex trafficking was discovered and … over 100 items of evidence were recovered, including three handguns, cash, computers, and numerous cellular telephones,” the statement said.