PA state police: Three involved in human trafficking ring face charges

Regional News

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — Three people allegedly connected to drug distribution and human trafficking of young women in and around Reading, Berks County, are facing charges.

According to Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), Hector M. Rivera, 50, of Reading; Dushawn O. Ellis, 31, of Reading; and Bridget M. Thompson, 36, of Lancaster, were charged with various crimes related to corrupt organizations, trafficking individuals, prostitution and other related offenses.

The investigation began in 2020 when a confidential source provided information that led officials to develop multiple leads and to identify multiple victims.

In May, the results of the investigation were presented to the 45th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury. The grand jury concluded that Rivera, Ellis and Thompson operated a corrupt organization involved in the human trafficking of young women for the commercial sex trade.

It’s reported that Thompson was responsible for posting advertisements and communicating with customers while Rivera and Ellis utilized drugs to lure some of the victims into prostitution and then control them.

The victims then received payments from the customers which they would then turn over to either Rivera, Ellis or Thompson, police said.

Rivera and Thompson are both confined to Berks County Prison. Bail for Rivera is set at $1 million cash, and Thompson’s bail is set at $250,000 cash. Ellis is awaiting arraignment.

A complete breakdown of the charges are as follows:

Hector Manuel Rivera

  • Corrupt Organizations (F1) (2 counts)
  • Trafficking in Individuals (F1) (8 counts)
  • Criminal Attempt-Trafficking in Individuals (F1) (8 counts)
  • Criminal Conspiracy-Trafficking in Individuals (F1) (8 counts)
  • Involuntary Servitude (F1) (5 counts)
  • Criminal Attempt-Involuntary Servitude (F1) (5 counts)
  • Criminal Conspiracy-Involuntary Servitude (F1) (5 counts)
  • Prostitution and Related Offenses (F3) (7 counts)
  • Criminal Attempt-Prostitution and Related Offenses (F3) (7 counts)
  • Criminal Conspiracy-Promoting Prostitution (F3) (7 counts)
  • Criminal Use of Communication Facility (F3) (1 count)
  • Manufacture, Delivery, or Possession with Intent to Deliver or Manufacture of a Controlled Substance (F1) (1 count)

 Dushawn Onell Ellis

  • Corrupt Organizations (F1) (2 counts)
  • Trafficking in Individuals (F1) (6 counts)
  • Criminal Attempt-Trafficking in Individuals (F1) (6 counts)
  • Criminal Conspiracy-Trafficking in Individuals (F1) (6 counts)
  • Involuntary Servitude (F1) (5 counts)
  • Criminal Attempt-Involuntary Servitude (F1) (3 counts)
  • Criminal Conspiracy-Involuntary Servitude (F1) (3 counts)
  • Prostitution and Related Offenses (F3) (8 counts)
  • Criminal Attempt-Prostitution and Related Offenses (F3) (8 counts)
  • Criminal Conspiracy-Promoting Prostitution (F3) (8 counts)
  • Criminal Use of Communication Facility (F3) (1 count)
  • Manufacture, Delivery, or Possession with Intent to Deliver or Manufacture of a Controlled Substance (F1) (1 count)
  • Simple Assault (M2) (1 count)

 Bridget Marie Thompson

  • Corrupt Organizations (F1) (2 counts)
  • Trafficking in Individuals (F1) (2 counts)
  • Criminal Attempt-Trafficking in Individuals (F1) (2 counts)
  • Criminal Conspiracy-Trafficking in Individuals (F1) (2 counts)
  • Involuntary Servitude (F1) (2 counts)
  • Criminal Conspiracy-Involuntary Servitude (F3) (2 counts)
  • Prostitution and Related Offenses (F3) (5 counts)
  • Criminal Conspiracy-Prostitution and Related Offenses (F3) (5 counts)

 *(F1)-Felony of the first degree; (F3)-Felony of the third degree; (M2)-Misdemeanor of the second degree.

The public is encouraged to remain vigilant and report suspicious activity through the See Something Send Something mobile app, by email tips@pa.gov, or to a local law enforcement agency.

Sign up for the WTAJ Newsletter for the latest local news, weather and community events that matter to you.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Don't Miss