Operator of AZ sex trafficking ring sentenced to prison

Posted: Updated:
Booking photo of Patcharin Koibuchi. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Booking photo of Patcharin Koibuchi. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Booking photo of Erik Christopher Dunham, 46. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Booking photo of Erik Christopher Dunham, 46. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A woman accused of operating a Tempe-based prostitution ring that trafficked women from Thailand has been sentenced to 1 ½ years in prison.

Patcharin Koibuchi was also ordered to serve 3 years of probation.

She pleaded guilty in December to attempted illegal control of an enterprise and attempted money laundering.

"One of the most shocking and disturbing aspects of human trafficking, is that it can happen anywhere," said Attorney General Mark Brnovich.

Koibuchi, a citizen of Thailand, was the manager and main organizer of a sex trafficking ring involving young Thai girls, prosecutors said.

[ORIGINAL STORY: Man, woman accused of running Thai prostitution ring in the Valley]

The victims were forced to come to the Valley to work as escorts in order to pay off debts in Thailand. They provided sexual services for money at two locations in Tempe from November 2015 to May 2016, according to prosecutors. 

In May, the Tempe Police Department, Arizona Department of Public Safety and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations investigated and shut down the sex trafficking ring.

"It is our intent to protect the innocent, rescue the victims, and focus the full investigative and enforcement efforts of our agency against these perpetrators," AZDPS Assistant Director Lt. Col. Ken Hunter said.

Erik Christopher Dunham of Chandler was also arrested in connection with the case.

According to investigators, Dunham admitted to “co-managing” the prostitution ring with Koibuchi, and splitting the profits 50-50. He said Koibuchi had the contacts in Thailand to supply the girls while he was the business manager, and he made about $3,000 a week from the operation.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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