The Colleyville Police Department helped lead an investigation that shut down an international sex trafficking website and led to the indictment of the site’s alleged owner.
Wilhan Martono, 46, was charged in a 28-count federal indictment June 2 and arrested in Fresno, Calif., on June 17, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. He is in federal custody awaiting extradition to Dallas, according to a report from the East Bay Times.
The North Texas Trafficking Task Force conducted the investigation, which was led by the U.S. Secret Service, the Colleyville Police Department and the Homeland Security Investigations’ Dallas field office, with assistance from the El Paso and San Jose offices as well as the Texas Department of Public Safety.
“I’m proud of our team who, with our federal partners, relentlessly pursued this investigation for more than a year,” Colleyville Police Chief Michael Miller said in the release. “We have made a significant impact on one of the world’s largest digital marketplaces for prostitution and sex trafficking. We know many lives will be saved through this joint effort.”
Martono allegedly made $21 million through CityXGuide.com and multiple websites promoting prostitution and sex trafficking, according to the release.
Numerous underage victims were identified in CityXGuide advertisements, including a 13-year-old girl who was found in North Texas last year.
Martono was indicted on one count of promotion of prostitution and reckless disregard of sex trafficking, one count of interstate racketeering conspiracy, nine counts of interstate transportation in aid of racketeering and 17 counts of money laundering, the release said.
He is accused of registering the names for multiple sites in 2018 a day after the FBI shut down the infamous Backpage.com, which the U.S. Attorney’s Office called “the internet’s leading source of prostitution and sex trafficking advertisements.”
“As soon as DOJ shut down one despicable site, another popped up to take its place,” U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox said in the news release. “Like the owners of Backpage, this defendant made millions facilitating the online exploitation of women and children. The Justice Department will not rest until these sites are eliminated and their owners held accountable for their crimes.”
Martono was charged, in part, under the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act passed in 2018, which makes it possible for the government to prosecute websites that promote sex trafficking. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in a federal prison.
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