JEFFERSON COUNTY - Lakewood Police confirmed Monday that a seventh person wanted in connection with a child prostitution ring was in custody.
Mark Wayne Turturice, 54, was arrested following six previous arrests announced last week. Investigators did not return calls seeking details about the timing and circumstances of Turturice's arrest.
He is one of seven accused of taking part in a child prostitution ring in Jefferson County that involved giving young girls drugs.
Marshall Deron Ashton, 31, Nickolas Alan Silk, 23, Kevin J. Snuggs, 26, Pamela Jean Lewis, 57, Zelian Ashbury Shaw, 20, and Daniel Onodera, 42, were previously arrested and are facing charges related to the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
In November, 2012, the investigation began when a victim reported to a counselor that she had been sexually assaulted by Daniel Onodera, the alleged ringleader of the child prostitution ring.
Three teen girls were later identified as victims, one 13 and two 16-year-olds. The girls did not know each other but investigators say each had run away from home, were truant from school and lured into the prostitution net by drugs.
The young girls were given methamphetamine and forced to have sex with members of the ring, their associates or strangers in exchange for money or drugs allegedly paid to Onodera or other members of the prostitution ring based out of the Timberleaf Apartments in Lakewood.
"Human Traficking, the trafficking of children for prostitution, is a serious issue in Jefferson County and throughout the Denver metro area. Those who engage in this activity target and groom the most vulnerable of our youth. These defendants preyed upon young women, coercing them into sexual activity," said District Attorney Pete Weir."The dismantling of this group disrupts their operations and is a significant step towards protecting other children from being lured into this sexually exploitive environment."
Onodera, Lewis, and Ashton will be back in court on February 19 to be advised of the charges filed against them. Snuggs will be in court on February 28. Silk and Shaw were arrested in Denver on the Jeffco warrants and will be transported to the Jefferson County Detention Center.
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