RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office Thursday dismissed charges against five people previously charged with human trafficking.
The decision to drop the charges came during the testimony of an 18-year-old woman who told officials she was kidnapped from Compton on August 15.
While on the witness stand in a preliminary hearing, the woman recanted the story she told to law enforcement as well as two hours of testimony she gave during part of the hearing Wednesday.
Her changing story led prosecutors and a Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking (RCAHT) task force to doubt the credibility of the witness.
Charges were dropped against Muhammad Malik (previously identified as Adubakr Horrington, 33), Yahya Malik (previously identified as Khalid Binhajjyahyaabdulmalik, 23), Ibrahim Malik (previously identified as Ibrahim Binhajjyahaabdulmalik, 25), Jerry Landers, 22, and Ana Ceja, 20.
According to Riverside authorities, the woman first told authorities she was kidnapped by the five and taken to Moreno Valley and forced to work as a prostitute. While testifying Thursday, the woman said she was a prostitute, left with the five consensually, and that she made up the kidnapping story because she feared retaliation from her LA County-based pimp.