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Lancaster woman among three suspects charged in drug distribution, human trafficking ring operating in Reading

Bridget M. Thompson is accused of communicating with customers, while Hector Rivera and Dushawn Ellis allegedly used drugs to control prostitutes, police claim.
Credit: FOX43

READING, Pa. — A 36-year-old Lancaster woman is one of three people charged by State Police for her alleged connection to a drug distribution and human trafficking ring operating in and around Reading.

Bridget M. Thompson is charged with eight felonies related to corrupt organizations, trafficking individuals, prostitution, and other offenses, according to State Police.

Also charged are Hector M. Rivera, 50, and Dushawn O. Ellis, 31, both of Reading.

“Human trafficking is prevalent in our own communities within the commonwealth,” said Major Jeremy Richard, director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, in a press release issued Monday. “This case is a testament to the millions of men, women, and children who are trafficked worldwide and, in every city, suburb, and town in this great commonwealth.”

In early 2020, a confidential source provided information that led PSP Organized Crime Unit investigators to develop several leads and to identify multiple victims, police said.

In May 2021, PSP provided the results of its investigation to Pennsylvania Senior Deputy Attorney General Heather Castellino for presentment to the 45th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury. The grand jury concluded that Rivera, Ellis, and Thompson operated a corrupt organization involved in the human trafficking of young women for the commercial sex trade, police said.

Thompson was allegedly responsible for posting advertisements and communicating with customers while Rivera and Ellis utilized drugs to lure some of the victims into prostitution and then control them, according to police. 

The female victims received payments from the customers which they would then turn over to either Rivera, Ellis or Thompson, police said.

“The individuals charged today manipulated and abused terrified, vulnerable young women," said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. "They put their victims’ lives at risk for a profit. We’re working with our state law enforcement partners to seek out and shut down human trafficking throughout Pennsylvania.”

The charges:

Hector Manuel Rivera

  • Corrupt Organizations (F1) (2 counts)
  • Trafficking in Individuals (F1) (8 counts)
  • Criminal Attempt-Trafficking in Individuals (F1) (8 counts)
  • Criminal Conspiracy-Trafficking in Individuals (F1) (8 counts)
  • Involuntary Servitude (F1) (5 counts)
  • Criminal Attempt-Involuntary Servitude (F1) (5 counts)
  • Criminal Conspiracy-Involuntary Servitude (F1) (5 counts)
  • Prostitution and Related Offenses (F3) (7 counts)
  • Criminal Attempt-Prostitution and Related Offenses (F3) (7 counts)
  • Criminal Conspiracy-Promoting Prostitution (F3) (7 counts)
  • Criminal Use of Communication Facility (F3) (1 count)
  • Manufacture, Delivery, or Possession with Intent to Deliver or Manufacture of a Controlled Substance (F1) (1 count)

 Dushawn Onell Ellis

  • Corrupt Organizations (F1) (2 counts)
  • Trafficking in Individuals (F1) (6 counts)
  • Criminal Attempt-Trafficking in Individuals (F1) (6 counts)
  • Criminal Conspiracy-Trafficking in Individuals (F1) (6 counts)
  • Involuntary Servitude (F1) (5 counts)
  • Criminal Attempt-Involuntary Servitude (F1) (3 counts)
  • Criminal Conspiracy-Involuntary Servitude (F1) (3 counts)
  • Prostitution and Related Offenses (F3) (8 counts)
  • Criminal Attempt-Prostitution and Related Offenses (F3) (8 counts)
  • Criminal Conspiracy-Promoting Prostitution (F3) (8 counts)
  • Criminal Use of Communication Facility (F3) (1 count)
  • Manufacture, Delivery, or Possession with Intent to Deliver or Manufacture of a Controlled Substance (F1) (1 count)
  • Simple Assault (M2) (1 count)

Bridget Marie Thompson

  • Corrupt Organizations (F1) (2 counts)
  • Trafficking in Individuals (F1) (2 counts)
  • Criminal Attempt-Trafficking in Individuals (F1) (2 counts)
  • Criminal Conspiracy-Trafficking in Individuals (F1) (2 counts)
  • Involuntary Servitude (F1) (2 counts)
  • Criminal Conspiracy-Involuntary Servitude (F3) (2 counts)
  • Prostitution and Related Offenses (F3) (5 counts)
  • Criminal Conspiracy-Prostitution and Related Offenses (F3) (5 counts)

 *(F1)-Felony of the first degree; (F3)-Felony of the third degree; (M2)-Misdemeanor of the second degree.

“I want to thank all of the investigators involved, including those in the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, for their tireless and dedicated efforts to bring justice to all of the victims,” said Richard.

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