Edmonton… Three Edmonton suspects are facing various human trafficking charges following an ALERT investigation.
In May 2023, ALERT’s Human Trafficking unit received information that a 17-year-old from Saskatchewan had been lured to Edmonton to work in the sex industry. Investigators worked closely with the Edmonton Police Service to ensure the appropriate resources were in place.
“This young girl had been in contact with a friend, who acted quickly to get Edmonton Police involved. Police were able to rescue her before she was physically sexually exploited,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Hayes, ALERT Human Trafficking.
“This event started with a person’s call for help and was met with empathy, compassion and dedication by the responding members. The initial investigation conducted by patrol members led to the involvement of ALERT’s Human Trafficking unit, who worked relentlessly to stop this group of suspects from preying on vulnerable people,” said Insp. Tom Bechthold, Edmonton Police Service.
Through the investigation, ALERT was able to identify a second teen who had been lured from British Columbia and was coerced into working in the sex trade.
On June 28, 2023, search warrants were executed on two homes, and three vehicles. Police seized numerous electronic devices, two loaded handguns, nearly $50,000 and nearly 90 grams of cocaine.
Christopher Mucheni, 29-years-old, Lauren Wise, 22-years old, and Demsey Lorquet-Maura, 30-years old, all face numerous human trafficking charges.
The handguns will be submitted for further forensic analysis, ballistics testing and serial number restoration. ALERT is conducting a follow-up investigation to determine how the firearms were acquired.
“Investigators also interviewed a third teen, as well as a 19-year-old who were being groomed by our suspects. We were able to intervene and both young women are receiving the appropriate supports,” Hayes added.
If you suspect someone you know is being groomed or coerced into the sex trade, officers suggest watching for the following signs:
ALERT encourages anyone who believes they are a victim of sexual exploitation or human trafficking to report it to police. Victims of sexual exploitation can report it to the Edmonton Police Service by calling 780-423-4567, or 9-1-1 if they are in immediate danger. Alternatively, anyone seeking supports is encouraged to contact the Safety Network Coordinator with CEASE at 780-471-6137. There is no time limit on how long a victim has to report a sexual assault in Canada.
ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.