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Alleged Sex Trafficker Released From Prison

Federal judge orders man accused of bringing women from Eastern Europe to Santa Monica to work as prostitutes to home detention after lowering bail to $250,000.

Bail was lowered to $250,000 Monday for the and Los Angeles.

Mher Hakopyan, 38, was released from federal prison and confined instead to home detention after posting bond. He was ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device, according to court documents filed Tuesday in federal court in Santa Ana.

U.S. District Judge Robert N. Block of the Central District imposed a number of conditions for Hakopyan's release, including that he surrender his passport, not set foot at an airport or bus terminal, and seek employment. Home detention is less restrictive than home incarceration and permits defendants to leave for attorney visits, work and school.

Monday's detention hearing was held at the request of defense attorney George G. Mgdesyan, who said he argued Hakopyan was not a flight risk.

"This is a man who has never been in trouble," Mgdesyan told Patch on Thursday. "A man with no criminal history."

Indicted in June on eight counts of conspiracy to transport for prostitution and eight counts of bringing undocumented workers to the country for private financial gain, Hakopyan was initially held without bail.

He has to the charges.

Authorities allege Hakopyan and his wife and ex-wife brought as many as 14 women from Eastern Europe to Southern California to work as prostitutes.

They allegedly helped the women find housing and posted provocative pictures of them online. An affidavit filed in federal court in Santa Ana identifies three women who worked from two separate units at an apartment complex at 2200 Colorado Ave. in Santa Monica.

A sting conducted by the Santa Monica Police Department in February allegedly uncovered a brothel there. In court documents, detectives reported collecting evidence including condoms, lube and about $8,000.

Attorney Mgdesyan said he wouldn't speak in depth about the case because he's waiting for prosecutors to turn over all of their evidence.

"I don't think the case is as big as the way the prosecution wants people to believe it is," he said. "But we'll see. There's a lot more discovery coming."

The trial is scheduled to start Jan. 29.

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Eddie Greenberg August 26, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Whomever that judge is he needs to be recalled from the bench. Putting human trafficers back out of jail is a travesty. I have no doubt that several other crimes are attached to this one. We ask the police to do their jobs and they did so in this case, only to have this happen. It is outrageous and demoralizing!
Gloria Webber August 26, 2012 at 10:26 PM
I totally agree with Mr. Greenberg. What is this judge thinking; perhaps he doesn't view human trafficing is a big deal or a customer! Shame on him; he needs to be removed
bonnie wolfe September 07, 2012 at 09:01 AM
he did it for the money. $250,000 speaks volumes this creep bought his way out of prison as they always say, money talks. shame shame shame on this judge
Glenn E Grab October 11, 2012 at 06:06 PM
where was that apartment unit again?...just curious....

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