Former Phoenix New Times Owners Arrested For Human Trafficking

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced the arrest of former Phoenix New Times owner Carl Ferrer, the CEO of Backpage.com, for conspiracy to commit human trafficking. Ferrer, 55, was taken into custody this afternoon on a California arrest warrant after he arrived in Houston on a flight from Amsterdam.

A lengthy joint investigation by the offices of the Texas and California attorneys general uncovered evidence that adult and child sex trafficking victims were forced into prostitution through escort ads that appeared repeatedly on Backpage.

“Making money off the backs of innocent human beings by allowing them to be exploited for modern-day slavery is not acceptable in Texas,” Attorney General Paxton said. “I intend to use every resource my office has to make sure those who profit from the exploitation and trafficking of persons are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

Nearly three dozen members of the Texas Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Unit participated in Ferrer’s arrest and the execution of a search warrant on the Dallas headquarters of Backpage, which is considered the largest advertiser of adult escort services in the United States.

Last January, Attorney General Paxton launched his office’s Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime (HTTOC) unit, which works closely with prosecutors around the state to bring human traffickers to justice. Recently, HTTOC helped the Nueces County district attorney’s office secure a 40-year sentence for the trafficker of a 15-year-old victim.

“The arrest of the CEO of Backpage for inappropriate content is long overdue,” stated Kathleen Winn. “The Arizona Anti-Trafficking Network (AATN) and AZMEN applauds the actions of the Texas Attorney General’s office. Arizona has two of the major stockholders Michael Larkin and Michael Lacey who reside here and they will also be charged.”

“The “review” of the ads has been more of an exercise than an attempt to edit or control content,” continued Winn. “Backpage.com has been skirting the law by the “sale” of Backpage to an Amsterdam entity while maintaining the same legal council after the sale. Backpage.com has operated in bad faith to correct this issue. I am glad someone found the legal means to stop one of the largest advertisers in the sex for sale business. My hope is other attorneys who have other cases will be able to join this case so Backpage.com can be held accountable for their egregious actions.”

6 Comments

  1. I think that we have forgotten, as long we are talking about judicial shenanigans, Lacey and Larkin were investigated a few year ago in this same case. They were granted the right to sue Arpaio. This same Lacy and Larkin were generous donors to several Chicano activist hate groups, one of which County supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, patron saint for chicanos on the Board, loaned Wilcox momey for her restuarant projects – the same board that go on to censure Arpaio, money derived no doubt though child sex tafficing activities! Curiouser and Curioser !

  2. I think that we have forgotten, as long we are talking about judicial shenanigans, Lacey and Larkin were investigated a few year ago in this same case. They were granted the right to sue Arpaio. This same Lacy and Larkin were generous donors to several Chicano activist hate groups, one of which County supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, patron saint for Chicanos on the Board, loaned Wilcox for her restuarant projects the – same board that censured Arpaio. Curiouser and curioser !

  3. So what are the chances of borrowing the Texas Attorney General to provide some integrity and service to the citizens of Arizona. It appears that the only citizens protected by the Attorney General’s office are his politically connected cronies and financial backers.

    • The Snell and Wilmer case does have that smell to it doesn’t it?? Lawyers prosecuting lawyers in Arizona or anywhere else? Happens once in a blue moon and then only after the lawyers have been repeatedly told by the bar to get their act together and they fail to do so. SSDD in attorney land. All one needs to do is look at DC. The sewer for lawyers.

Comments are closed.