Police say the man who was shot and killed by a federal agent in a Scottsdale shopping center Friday morning was previously convicted of human trafficking.
Authorities say 48-year-old Erik Dunham was recently convicted of human trafficking and failed to appear for his sentencing. Consequently, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office petitioned a judge and a search warrant was issued recently for Dunham’s arrest.
In 2016, Dunham was arrested after a three-year investigation linked him to a multi-state prostitution ring. According to officials, Dunham was collecting money and facilitating the prostitution of several girls brought to the United States from Thailand.
His partner, 46-year-old Patcharin Koibuchi, who is from Thailand, was bringing the girls to the United States.
The girls were forced into the prostitution ring and were promised that they would eventually be granted their freedom once they covered the cost of their transfer to the U.S.
Dunham eventually admitted to investigators that he was in charge of the prostitution of four girls at the time of his arrest but over the span of 18 months he had been in charge of 15 girls. He explained that he and Koibuchi split the profits 50/50 and at least $20,000 was found at one of the Tempe or Chandler homes when search warrants were initially issued.
A spokeswoman with the Arizona Attorney General's Office says Koibuchi was sentenced to 1.5 years behind bars for her role in the prostitution ring. Dunham was slated to be sentenced last week but failed to show up to court.
At the time of the shooting, Dunham was facing as much as eight years in prison, the AG's Office said.
Homeland Security agents were attempting to serve the arrest warrant when the deadly shooting occurred in the area of 90th Street and Shea Boulevard, a Scottsdale police spokesperson said.
According to police, the Homeland Security agent fired at Dunham after he drew a weapon on the agents.
The suspect died at the scene, officials confirmed.
The shooting remains under investigation and no additional details were immediately released regarding the incident.