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'Boss Lady' of sex trafficking ring pleads guilty

WASHINGTON COUNTY — She was a "boss lady" whose sex trafficking ring enslaved vulnerable foreign women in 29 states. Now, she's looking at a long prison stretch.

Sophia Wang Navas, 50, of Chino Hills, California, has entered guilty pleas to racketeering and sex trafficking, Washington County Attorney Pete Orput announced July 31. She faces up to 12.5 years in prison.

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The racketeering charge includes the concealment of the proceeds from the sex trafficking of Chinese females throughout the Twin Cities metro, including Oakdale, Woodbury, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Plymouth, Blaine and St. Louis Park.

In Cottage Grove, a townhouse served as a brothel where women were forced to make a minimum $800 a day as prostitutes, Orput said.

PREVIOUSLY: Prosecutors: Sex trafficking ring spanned 29 states, reached Cottage Grove and other Twin Cities suburbs

The racketeering occurred between Jan. 1, 2016, and Feb. 21, 2017.

The investigation was led the Woodbury Department of Public Safety, Oakdale Police Department and St. Paul Police Department. They were assisted by the Cottage Grove, Minneapolis, Oakdale, St. Paul and Woodbury police departments as well as by law enforcement in Orange County, California.

Washington County Attorney’s Office prosecutor Imran Ali, along with the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office prosecutor Karen Kugler prosecuted the cases.

The operation was controlled from Orange County in California, Orput said. Also charged were Dongzhou Jiang, 28, of Blaine, and Hong Nmn Jing and Fangyao Wu, both of Irvine, California. In the original criminal complaint, Jing and Navas are referred to by Jiang as the "boss ladies" of the organization.

Navas will be sentenced Oct. 23.

Hong Jing, convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking, is serving 102 months in prison. Dongzhu Jiang has a sentencing on a racketeering and sex trafficking conviction on Aug. 13, 2018. Michelle Jing was placed on 20 years of probation for her racketeering conviction.

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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