SANTA ANA, Calif. – A Fresno man was convicted and sentenced to 10 years and eight months in state prison this week for human trafficking, pimping, and pandering a woman and a minor. Justus Isaiah Morris, 20, pleaded guilty on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, to a court offer of one felony count of human trafficking, one felony count of human trafficking of a minor, one felony count of pimping, one felony count of pimping a minor, one felony count of pandering by procuring, one felony count of pandering with a minor over 16 years old by procuring, and one felony count of carrying a loaded unregistered firearm in public. In addition to prison, Morris was sentenced to mandatory lifetime sex offender registration and was ordered to have no contact with the victims.
Co-defendant Marcos Rocha, 19, Fresno, pleaded guilty on Jan. 18, 2017, to two felony counts of pimping and was sentenced to six years in state prison and was ordered to have no contact with the victims.
Circumstances of the Case
Morris is a human trafficker/pimp who exploits women and/or children for financial gain. The victims are required to turn over all payment they receive for sex acts from sex purchasers to Morris.
Prior to Nov. 14, 2016, Rocha drove Morris and the victims, 18-year-old Jane Doe 1 and 16-year-old Jane Doe 2, from Fresno to Anaheim with the intent to have the victims engage in commercial sex for the defendants’ benefit in areas known for prostitution in Orange County. Morris posted sexually explicit advertisements of both victims on websites known for soliciting commercial sex.
On Nov. 14, 2016, Anaheim Police Department (APD) officers contacted the defendants who were lying down in a car in a motel parking lot on Beach Boulevard. Further investigation revealed that Morris was in possession of a loaded, unregistered firearm and that they were staying in a room at the hotel registered to Rocha. APD officers entered the room and located the victims. Morris set up various commercial sex encounters for Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 and kept the money both victims received from sex purchasers for himself and paid Rocha. Shortly after arriving in Orange County, Jane Doe 2 did not want to work for Morris but was afraid to leave.
Morris and Rocha were arrested at the hotel by APD and the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF), who investigated this case.
Members of the OCHTTF and the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) Office work proactively to protect women and minors from falling victim to commercial sexual exploitation. This case was investigated by OCHTTF, a partnership between Anaheim Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Costa Mesa Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Huntington Beach Police Department, Irvine Police Department, Newport Beach Police Department, OCDA, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Santa Ana Police Department, and community and non-profit partners.
Deputy District Attorney Juliet Oliver of the HEAT Unit prosecuted this case.
Proposition 35 and HEAT
To read more about California’s anti-human trafficking Proposition 35 and the OCDA’s Human Exploitation and Trafficking (HEAT) Unit, please visit www.orangecountyda.org and select Human Trafficking Information from the Media Center drop down menu.
Orange County District Attorney / Case # 16CF2928 / January 20, 2017