SACRAMENTO (AP) — The chief executive of an internet site authorities contend is a hub for the illegal sex trade has been transferred from Texas to a California jail where's he's being held without bail.
Backpage.com CEO Carl Ferrer, 55, was booked into the Sacramento County jail late Friday night on felony charges that include pimping a minor.
Authorities allege that adult and child sex-trafficking victims were forced into prostitution through escort ads posted on the site.
Ferrer was arrested Thursday after arriving in Houston on an overseas flight. The Dallas headquarters for Backpage was raided by authorities in conjunction with his arrest.
Ferrer met with his attorneys inside the Sacramento County jail Saturday.
Outside the downtown lock-up, Attorney Michael Rothschild said he wouldn't answer any questions, and walked away from our cameras. But his attorney in Texas, where Ferrer was arrested, had this to say:
"He's eagerly looking forward to responding to these allegations, and to vigorously fighting the charges that have been levied against him," said attorney Philip Hilder.
And in a Statement, Ferrer's Seattle based attorney Liz McDougall goes further, blasting Ferrer's arrest as “an election year stunt ... and not a good-faith action by law enforcement."
California Attorney General and Candidate for Senate Kamala Harris helped orchestrate the arrest of Ferrer and his extradition, saying it is despicable and outrageous that Backpage raked in millions of dollars from the trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable victims.
"Especially if it's your child… especially if it's at the hands of someone else older than them, and they're being manipulated. Yeah... rage is one of the emotions," said Tygie Stone.
Stone says he had a family member, a minor, trafficked among the escort ads on Backpage He's launched an awareness campaign since, trying to convinced parents to engage with their kids- to watch what they're doing and who they are talking with online.
"It kind of takes the power away from websites like that. Knowledge is power. I can't point the blame all at this man. He provided the platform, but that doesn't mean that we have to not inform our children,” Stone said.
Backpage's two controlling shareholders were being sought by authorities.