A 31-count superseding indictment was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn adding three defendants, Yuan Yuan Chen, also known as “Xiao Pang,” Yichu Chen and Johnnie Kim, as well as 10 additional assaults in-aid-of racketeering to the pending charges against co-defendants Rong Rong Xu, also known as “Eleanor,” Siyang Chen, Siyu Chen, also known as “Ban Ban,” Carlos Cury, also known as “Red,” Bo Jiang, Meizhen Song, also known as “Die Die,” and Jilong Yu. The charges relate to the defendants’ alleged participation in a Queens-based criminal organization that engaged in sex trafficking, beatings, and robberies of dozens of women across the United States. The three newly indicted defendants were arrested today and will be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Peggy Kuo.
Yuan Yuan Chen (“Yuan Yuan”) is charged with racketeering conspiracy, sex trafficking conspiracy, interstate prostitution conspiracy, and assault in-aid-of racketeering, among other crimes, and Yichu Chen (“Yichu”) and Johnnie Kim are variously charged with Hobbs Act robbery and conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery. The superseding indictment also adds charges against Cury, Xu, Siyang Chen, and Jiang.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and James Smith, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI) and Edward A. Caban, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the superseding indictment and arrests.
“As alleged, the defendants preyed on vulnerable women for sex trafficking, brutally assaulting them to enforce loyalty to the criminal enterprise. Human beings are not property and deserve to be free from violence and coerced sexual activity,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “This case is another example of our Office’s longstanding commitment to bringing to justice sex trafficking organizations that exploit and seek to dehumanize victims for financial gain.”
Mr. Peace praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and the NYPD. This investigation was aided by law enforcement agencies throughout the country. Mr. Peace expressed his thanks to the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Nebraska, as well as the Oklahoma City and Manchester field offices of United States Homeland Security Investigations and United States Immigration & Customs Enforcement. In addition, local police departments across the United States have provided invaluable assistance, including the Beaverton (Oregon) Police Department, Michigan State Police, Missouri Highway Patrol, Oklahoma City (Oklahoma) Police Department, Omaha (Nebraska) Police Department, Overland Park (Kansas) Police Department, Portland (Oregon) Police Department, Southfield (Michigan) Police Department, and Troy (Michigan) Police Department.
“These defendants allegedly engaged in the heinous crime of forced labor and chose to brutally exploit their fellow human beings for profit,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Smith. “The FBI is committed to working with our partners to pursue justice on behalf of victims of human trafficking and prosecuting perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.”
“The crimes outlined in today’s indictment are among the most heinous we confront,” stated NYPD Commissioner Caban. “The NYPD and our law enforcement partners share an unwavering commitment to protect survivors of sex trafficking, and to ensure that anyone seeking to profit through the abuse and exploitation of others is brought to justice. I thank and commend for their sustained dedication everyone involved in investigating and prosecuting this important case.”
As set forth in court filings, between April 2019 and September 2021, the defendants allegedly participated in or performed work on behalf of an organization that ran a nationwide prostitution business, trafficked women and directed and carried out violent attacks on women throughout the United States to protect its turf and deter commercial sex workers from working for rival organizations or independently. In carrying out these attacks, several defendants’ zip-tied the victims’ hands, stuffed or covered their mouths to silence them, and then viciously beat them with hammers, wrenches, baseball bats, rolling pins and other blunt objects, leaving the victims bloody, terrified, and, in many cases, seriously injured.
Yuan Yuan engaged in a conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and managed the Organization’s interstate prostitution business. She, along with her co-defendants, sought to keep women working for the Organization through force, fraud or coercion. For example, Yuan Yuan required women to provide passports, or copies of passports, to the Organization and then would later remind them of such information when warning them not to cross the “boss.” The Organization also sought to protect their business’s territory through violence, and Yuan Yuan played a pivotal role in devising a scheme to circulate video recordings of assaults among large groups or sex workers to deter them from working independently or for rivals. Yuan Yuan personally recruited sex workers for the Organization, took commissions from each of their jobs, identified rival businesses for purposes of planning targeted assaults of their employees, and kept the Organization’s own employees engaged in sex work by instilling fear in them.
As alleged, Yichu Chen and Johnnie Kim were enforcers employed by the Organization to carry out attacks on commercial sex workers. Yichu and Kim directly participated in the violent assaults of two victims on September 15, 2020 and April 21, 2021, respectively. A co-conspirator in a contemporaneous electronic communication described Yichu’s beating of the restrained victim on September 15, 2020 as “super severe.” As for Kim, he, along with co-defendant Cury, stomped all over the body of a victim on April 22, 2021 and kicked her hard and repeatedly to the point that she lost consciousness.
The superseding indictment also charges 10 additional assaults-in-aid-of-racketeering and adds defendants to previously charged counts. WeChat messages reveal the planning of assaults by the defendants on behalf of the Organization, and describe details of the violence that occurred during the assaults. In some cases, videos of the attacks were circulated between the defendants to demonstrate to more senior members of the Organization that the beatings were sufficiently severe. Some videos depict victims struggling while they are bound, bleeding and being beaten with hammers, baseball bats and rolling pins, among other weapons.
The charges in the superseding
Two defendants charged in the original indictment, Raymond Jiarun Yan, also known as “Raymond Yan” and “Mike,” and Zerong Tang, pleaded guilty earlier this month and are awaiting sentencing.
The government’s case is being handled by the office’s Organized Crime and Gangs and Civil Rights Sections. Assistant United States
The FBI’s New York Joint Asian Criminal Enterprise Task Force believes this enterprise may be responsible for the assaults of even more commercial sex workers throughout the country. If you are a victim or have information to provide, there are several ways to contact the FBI: send a tip online at tips.fbi.gov or call 1-800-CALL-FBI. They have people ready to work with you in your native language, regardless of your immigration status. Please select English when prompted and ask the operator for a translator by stating your language of choice. Online tips may be submitted in any language. In an emergency, always call 911 for the police.
RONG RONG XU (also known as “Eleanor”)
YUAN YUAN CHEN (also known as “Xiao Pang”)
Queens, New York
Queens, New York
Queens, New York
MEIZHEN SONG (also known as “Die Die”)
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