2 people arrested in Tempe prostitution ring

Posted at 3:07 PM, Apr 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-29 12:35:25-04

A three-year investigation has led to the arrest of two people who allegedly ran a multi-state prostitution ring centered in the Valley.

After search warrants were served at several homes in Tempe and Chandler, it was discovered 46-year-old Erik Dunham was collecting money and facilitating the prostitution of several girls brought to the United States from Thailand. 

Court documents show 46-year-old Patcharin Koibuchi, from Thailand, was allegedly bringing girls to the United States to participate in the prostitution ring. The girls were reportedly promised that they would eventually be granted freedom once they covered the cost of their transfer to the U.S.

The investigation started back in 2013 when Koibuchi was arrested for prostitution and admitted to Homeland Security that she was involved in a prostitution ring but refused to give details.

Dunham was identified and surveillance eventually led them to several properties in his name connected to the ring.

Dunham allegedly admitted to detectives that he was currently in charge of the prostitution of four girls, and was in charge of 15 girls at different times over the last 18 months. Dunham said he and Koibuchi had a 50/50 split of the profits, and at least $20,000 was found at one of the properties where a search warrant was served.
The suspects allegedly used the website The ads promised to “fulfill an Asian Fantasy.”

“You just feel bad about the situation and you wish that you would have known, so you could have stepped in before,” said Jason Cannell who lives right across from the Tempe apartment unit where the sex acts were allegedly happening.

“I feel very sad for the victims,” said Cannell. “I think we need to keep that in mind, that we have four ladies that were taken advantage of.”

Another neighbor who lives across the street from a home Dunham rents in Chandler did not want to give his name, but told ABC15 he saw the raid of undercover police cars swarming his cul-de-sac.

“They heard everything,” the neighbor said. “They heard cops screaming and busting down the front door.”

“I’m in shock,” said the neighbor. “Hearing that it was sex trafficking, you hear about it, but you don’t think it's across the street from you.”

Both were arrested on prostitution and money laundering charges.