Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today announced the arrest of three members of a sex trafficking ring that operated in Syracuse, Watertown, Ithaca and elsewhere in New York State. Investigators allege that Eric Oliver, age 30, of Syracuse, was the leader of the ring, and was assisted by Tirra Pate, age 19, of Syracuse and Jessica Moro, age 19, of Cicero.
Together, investigators say these suspects preyed on women as young as 15 years old, recruiting them to work as prostitutes; and in certain instances intimidating them with the use of physical force to compel them to commit acts of prostitution; and, in other instances, providing cocaine, heroin and the drug molly to the prostitutes in order for them to continue working.
The sex trafficking ring was so brazen that Oliver made phone calls directing its operation from jail even though he was warned that the calls could be recorded. Oliver called Moro and Pate from the Watertown and Ithaca jails during the past year to direct them to transport prostitutes to various locations. He also phoned Moro from jail with instructions to provide drugs to a prostitute to get her to work.
The defendants are being arraigned today before Judge Anthony Aloi in Onondaga County Court. Oliver faces charges including two counts of Sex Trafficking, a Class B felony that can land him in prison for 10 to 25 years; Compelling Prostitution, another Class B felony; Promoting Prostitution in the 2nd and 3rd Degrees, Class C and D felonies; Rape in the 3rd Degree, a Class E felony, and Conspiracy in the 5th Degree, a Class A Misdemeanor.
Moro faces facing charges of Promoting Prostitution in the 2nd and 3rd Degrees, Class C and D felonies, and Conspiracy in the 5th Degree, a Class A Misdemeanor.
Pate faces facing charges of Sex Trafficking, which is a Class B felony; Promoting Prostitution in the 3rd Degree, a Class D felony, and Conspiracy in the 5th Degree, a Class A Misdemeanor.