HARRISBURG (CBS) — Two men are accused of forcing multiple women into prostitution in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The investigation began in April when two undercover state troopers responded to a prostitution ad on a website.
According to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, Kenneth Crowell, 34, and Barry “Bear” Schiff, 50, coerced six women into prostitution via a human trafficking ring that operated in four counties in Pennsylvania, and southern New Jersey from 2014 until October 2017.
The two men allegedly used drugs, violence and threats to control the six women.
Officials arrested Crowell outside Chicago over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and Schiff, who is currently behind bars in York County, was also arrested.
In a videotaped statement, Shapiro says the women were lured by the false prospect of easy money.
“They were threatened,” he said. “They were assaulted. They had heroin pushed on them. And then they were forced to have sex to line the pockets of their tormenters.”
One of the women testified that when she refused Schiff’s demand for sex, he slammed her head into a bucket of dirty water containing shards of broken glass. The victim suffered severe cuts and scarring on her knees and legs.
According to the grand jury presentment, Schiff allegedly told the women his name was “Frank Luchese” and he perpetrated being a mobster to intimidate the women.
Another woman told police Crowell attempted to strangle her numerous time and she lost consciousness during one of the confrontations.
Both men are charged with trafficking in individuals, corrupt organizations, involuntary servitude, conspiracy, possession with intent to deliver, prostitution and related offenses.
Officials began unraveling the case when two undercover Pennsylvania State troopers responded to a Backpage advertisement.