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Regional News

Authorities bust sex ring that ran from Watertown to Ithaca

A Syracuse man and two women were arrested and charged Tuesday with operating a sex ring that prosecutors say stretched from Watertown to Ithaca.

The state Attorney General's office says Eric Oliver, 30, of Syracuse, was the ring leader of the operation. They say he was assisted by two women: Tirra Pate of Syracuse and Jessico Moro of Cicero, both 19 years old.

They're accused of coercing women and girls as young as 15 years old into becoming prostitutes. Prosecutors allege the trio would use physical force or gave the girls drugs to keep them on the job.

Oliver also beat and raped women into submission, law enforcement officials accuse. He has been arrested twice before.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called it a heinous crime. "This case is emblematic of the horrors of human trafficking," he said in a statement.

Schneirderman says Oliver will be charged under the human trafficking law and could face up to 25 years in prison.

The three will be back in court on Oct. 21.