Facebook message helps authorities bust sex trafficking ring in Chester County

Andrew Kramer
July 08, 2020 - 7:14 pm
Franklin Rivera Mendieta, Josue Sibrian Sanchez, Dimas Omar Cornejo Hernandez

Chester County District Attorney's Office


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio)  Eight people have been arrested after a sex trafficking ring was discovered in Chester County, and authorities say it all started with a social media message.

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Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan says a 14-year-old girl who went missing in Maryland sent her mother a Facebook message saying "I don't want to be here anymore” on May 30 after getting her hands on a cell phone. 

After that, she told her mom to pick her up at a Wawa in Malvern.

Officials were able to rescue the girl. 

She told them she had been held against her will for weeks.

"While forced to perform sexual acts for money with approximately four to five individuals each day at different locations in East Whiteland Township,” Ryan added.

While interviewing witnesses, authorities came across an 18-year-old girl who was brought to the area from Virginia. 

She said she was also held against her will for three weeks before escaping, and was forced to have sex for money and do drugs.

After linking the cases, Ryan says they arrested three men who ran this sex trafficking organization.

"The human sex trafficking organization was run by three codefendants, all of whom are being held on cash bail at county prison,” she added. 

The three men are 34-year-old Dimas Omar Cornejo Hernandez, also known as “Adonys,” 25-year-old Franklin Rivera Mendieta, also known as “Mono,” and 33-year-old Josue Sibrian Sanchez, also known as “Sibrian.”

The three men face a whole list of charges including trafficking in minors, kidnapping and rape.

Ryan says five other people accused of paying to have sex with the victims were also arrested. The five individuals are 25-year-old Diana Ordonez, 29-year-old Luis Cabrera Peralta, 45-year-old Nestor Ruiz, 35-year-old Juan Humberto Ortiz Ortiz, and 23-year-old Carlos Villatoro Gallegos.

Authorities say both victims were initially recruited through Snapchat.

Shea Rhodes, director of the Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation at Villanova University School of Law, says parents really need to keep a close eye on what their kids are doing on social media.

“Every time we turn around there is a new, hot account. First it was Snapchat, now it’s TikTok, and we know that traffickers are absolutely using social media as a tool for recruitment,” Rhodes said. 

She says parents should especially do this now during the pandemic as we tend to become more vulnerable as we’re not around other people as much.