Five people from Gilroy and San Jose were arrested in Southern California over the weekend after they allegedly kidnapped a Compton woman at gunpoint and tried to force her into prostitution in Riverside County, authorities said.
The suspects, four men and a woman, were identified as San Jose residents Ibrahim Binhajjyahyaabdulmalik, 25, and Ana Ceja, 20; and Gilroy residents Khalid Binhajjyahyaabdulmalik, 23, Abubakr Horrington, 32, and Jerry Landers, 21.
They are being held in a Riverside jail on suspicion of crimes including human trafficking, abduction for prostitution, false imprisonment, kidnapping for sexual assault, and attempted pimping and pandering.
Their alleged scheme unraveled Friday afternoon when the Moreno Valley Police Department was called to a hotel in the city and talked to an 18-year-old woman who told them she had been kidnapped the day before. Five people, she told police, threatened her with a semiautomatic handgun as she was walking in Compton, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, which contracts police services with Moreno Valley.
While in captivity, the victim was taken to an undisclosed location and sexually assaulted by two of the suspects, investigators said. She was told she would have to work as a prostitute for them, and they took her to the Moreno Valley hotel.
Before anything happened, the victim bolted from the hotel room when the suspects got briefly distracted. Carolyn Lin, general manager of the Best Western motel, told the Riverside Press-Enterprise the woman walked up to the front desk and quietly told the clerk that she had been kidnapped.
She directed responding officers to the suspects' room. Officers stopped the suspects' Mercedes-Benz as it was leaving the property and arrested everyone inside. The victim was freed after giving her account to investigators.
"She was frightened but unharmed," Sheriff's Department Sgt. John Sawyer said.
Though she was not seriously injured, as a matter of protocol in sexual assault cases, the victim was examined at a hospital, said Deputy Alberto Martinez, a Sheriff's Department spokesman.
Police also recovered the handgun they believe was used in the abduction.
The investigation has been turned over to the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force. The suspects, authorities said, were likely a vagabond group -- which is common with prostitution schemes -- and found Internet postings potentially tying them to other similar activity in both Northern and Southern California.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Follow him at Twitter.com/robertsalonga.