KERN COUNTY, CA. (THECOUNT) — Bakersfield, California, Desert Star Motel owner, Jatin B. Bhakta, has been identified as the suspect arrested on charges of using the establishment for sex trafficking, including the sex trafficking of minors.
Bhakta, 29, was taken into custody Friday along with motel employee, 45-year-old Roy Gene Drees.
The motel is located at, 516 S Union Ave in Bakersfield.
Both men are due in federal court Monday afternoon.
According to KGET, some were underage girls brought to the motel to sell their bodies, their faces marked with tattoos identifying the pimp they belonged to. One woman’s child was kidnapped by her pimp to force her to continue prostituting herself. Girls were given Ecstasy to “keep them moving” and ordered not to take a break until they made a certain amount of cash for the night.
One pimp, angry at a girl for not earning enough money, sexually assaulted the 17-year-old.
The motel was the target of a years-long investigation where multiple victims of human trafficking and brutal abuse were found.
Bhakta charged pimps to use his motel’s rooms to prostitute girls, according to the criminal complaint filed last week. There was little doubt as to what the motel was used for to those who drove by the premises, the document says.
“Depending on the time of day, it is not unusual to see most, if not all, of the rooms’ doors wide open with suspected prostitutes in lingerie standing outside, waving to drivers and approaching their vehicles,” investigators wrote in the complaint. “Prospective customers will park directly in front of the room of the prostitute they choose, at which time the prostitute will either direct them into the room immediately or meet the customer outside to arrange a deal.”
Of the couple dozen rooms available for rent, most are used by prostitutes, the document says.
Bhakta, who purchased the motel in 2015, would tell the girls the rules, according to the complaint. If they got into a fight, he would kick them out for three months. If clients or pimps beat them, he would do nothing as that was “part of the game.”
Investigators built their case with arrests of pimps and prostitutes at the motel over the years. Search warrants executed on cellphones and social media accounts also provided details. Plainclothes detectives posing as “johns’ were offered sex acts at the motel in exchange for money.
One pimp on Facebook called the Desert Star Motel a “Blade,” a term used by pimps to refer to an area where prostitution is rampant, according to the complaint.
Ge quick facts: Kern County is located in the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 839,631. Its county seat is Bakersfield. Kern County comprises the Bakersfield, California, Metropolitan statistical area. The county spans the southern end of the Central Valley – Wikipedia.