Los Angeles: On April 9, 2013, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), Human Trafficking Unit, in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the LAPD Innocent Lost Task Force (ILTF) were finally able to close a child sexual exploitation investigation that lasted 10 months.
As a result of information provided to the authorities, an investigation was opened regarding a 16-year-old female who had been the victim of human trafficking throughout Southern California.
LAPD human trafficking investigators interviewed the teenager and learned she had been the victim of what is known by law enforcement as child commercial sex trade.
After reviewing the evidence, multiple human-trafficking-related charges were filed by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office against Raymond Edwards, Latysha Burleson and Kyle Edwards, including the issuance of felony arrest warrants for each suspect.
On June 13, 2012, Kyle Edwards was arrested and booked for multiple human-trafficking-related charges pursuant to the felony arrest warrant. While Edwards was in custody awaiting court, he contacted his girlfriend, Latysha Burleson, and told her to contact the 16-year-old victim. Kyle Edwards requested Burleson dissuade the victim from appearing in court and testifying against him. Burleson followed his request did exactly as he asked.
On June 28, 2012 Burleson was arrested on her felony arrest warrant, and at that time additional charges for dissuading a witness were added to Kyle Edwards’ and Burleson’s charges by the Districts Attorney’s Office. On August 6, 2012 Burleson pled guilty for dissuading a witness. She is still awaiting sentencing.
On August 31, 2012, Raymond Edwards was arrested pursuant to the felony arrest warrant. On October 15, 2012, Raymond Edwards pled guilty to human trafficking and was sentenced to a year at county jail followed by four years of felony formal probation.
On April 9, 2013, Kyle Edwards pled guilty to pimping and pandering of a minor, unlawful sex with a minor and dissuading a witness. He was sentenced to 17 years and four months in state prison and will have to register as a sex offender upon his release.
The arrest and convictions were the result of an ongoing investigation by the ILTF, in conjunction with the FBI’s Innocent Lost National Initiative. The taskforce was formed to target the growing problem of commercial sexual exploitation of children through prostitution in the United States. Since its inception, the initiative has resulted in the development of 44 dedicated taskforces and working groups throughout the country involving federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
Anyone with further information regarding this matter is asked to contact the ILTF Hotline at (800) 655-4095, or LAPD Detective Support and Vice Division Human Trafficking Unit at (213) 486-0910. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.