In August 2019 the Brentwood Police Department responded to a call regarding a welfare check of a woman who was recently involved in a physical altercation with then 38-year old William ROSS (of Brentwood).
Early on in the investigation our patrol officers noticed several signs that the woman was a victim of human trafficking. Our investigators discovered that although ROSS was not physically trafficking the woman in Brentwood, he lived in our community while he traveled to areas more prominently known for commercial sex work.
During one these times ROSS violently dragged the woman several feet along the pavement, while he drove down the street. It was these injuries that prompted our agency to receive a telephone call from a friend of the woman, who was deservedly concerned for her friend’s safety. In the following months our Detectives learned ROSS was actively seeking out other women for commercial sex work through the use of his own social media.
According to Detective Agostinho, “An unintended consequence of social media applications, such as Instagram or Snap Chat, has created an environment where traffickers can seek out and take their time recruiting their victims. Over the recent years our investigations have increasingly involved analyzing countless hours of these types of records – including this case.”
Our Detectives eventually executed a Search Warrant at ROSS’ residence where two firearms were recovered along with several thousand dollars of cash and other evidence related to human trafficking. This included what our investigators dubbed “go-bags” full of lingerie, toiletries, and contraceptives commonly provided by human traffickers.
ROSS was ultimately apprehended in November 2019.
The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office formally filed charges and ROSS remained in-custody without the possibility of bail. As of today we are pleased to announce that ROSS was recently convicted of pimping, assault with a deadly weapon, and felon in possession of a firearm. ROSS remains in custody and will be transported to state prison, where he will serve a 12-year sentence. Our communities can be at ease that ROSS will no longer be free to victimize anyone in our community.
If you or someone else you know is a victim of human trafficking, you can visit humantraffickinghotline.org