Three young men from this area have been charged with pimping out a 15-year-old girl from the Midwest, according to authorities.
Elozona Ogbechie, 21, of Yorba Linda, was charged Thursday with one felony count each of human trafficking a minor, pandering a minor under 16 years old by promise, threat or violence to become a prostitute, forcible rape and using, inducing or furnishing a controlled substance to a minor, according to Huntington Beach Police and the Orange County District Attorney's office, who indicate he faces up to 25 years in state prison with a conviction.
Marcellus Alphonso Carpenter, 22, of Diamond Bar, and Phillip Anthony Gallegos, 20, of Fullerton, were charged on Jan. 27 with trafficking, pimping and pandering the same girl, the officials said.
Police and the FBI began an investigation after someone from the girl's hometown informed them that her parents reported her missing on Jan. 3 and that she might be living in Orange County. She was found on Jan. 23 at a Fullerton motel and has since reunited with her family.
Gallegos, who was introduced to the victim by his girlfriend, allegedly traveled with her from the Midwest to Orange County around Jan. 9, according to police and prosecutors, who say she arrived around Jan. 13 and taken by Gallegos to meet Ogbechie and Carpenter. Promising the girl a better life, Ogbechie and Carpenter allegedly convinced her to turn tricks, the authorities say.
“The defendants are accused of pimping the victim by receiving support from the money she received from performing commercial sex acts,” reads a joint statement from the agencies. “The support including convincing the victim to purchase food, drugs and pay for the rental of motel rooms.”
Ogebchie, Carpenter and Gallegos are also accused of forcibly raping the girl and plying her with cocaine, the officials add. Ogbechie and Gallegos were being held without bail heading into a March 13 hearing in Fullerton. Carpenter, who was being held in lieu of $250,000 bail, has an April 1 court date.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.