A third person convicted this month as Fresno County prosecutors target human traffickers

·2 min read

A 28-year-old Fresno man pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of human trafficking, assault with a firearm and dissuading a witness as Fresno County prosecutors continue to take down those who prey on others.

The latest conviction was that of Bernardez Anthony Brulee of Fresno. He was charged with multiple counts related to the commercial sex trade. His trial was scheduled to start Thursday and was facing a maximum sentence of 30 years.

Instead, Brulee admitted to five felonies and could be sentenced to 14 years in prison.

“Defendants like Mr. Brulee prey on vulnerable women through manipulation and violence. Even after they are arrested for their crimes, they continue to pressure victims in an effort to avoid being held responsible,” said Senior Deputy District Attorney Ashley Paulson.

Last week, Ed Eugene Leavell, 32, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for human trafficking of a minor for sex. During Leavell’s sentencing, the mother of one of his victims spoke out, blasting the defendant for the emotional trauma he’s caused her family.

“When something like this happens to a child, the entire family is affected and it is not easy,” the mother said, appearing via Zoom. “She is not the same little girl we raised. I have to watch her struggle in life everyday. And if anyone is a parent here, when I say your child’s pain is your pain, it’s never ending. We suffer everyday.”

A third case earlier this month involved 23-year-old trafficker Alexis Jade Diaz of Fresno. On Jan. 14, she was sentenced to 10 years in prison for trafficking two victims in late 2017 and early 2018. She was also found guilty of attempting to dissuade a witness from reporting the crime.

Diaz was charged after detectives discovered she recruited two victims to be part of her commercial sex operation. She was in charge of recruiting, scheduling dates, driving the victims and collecting the money from customers.

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