Marin Grigore, 29, of Tudor Road, Bristol, trafficked a woman from abroad and along with his wife and brother-in-law, arranged for women to sell sexual services from their rented homes in Easton, Bristol as well as other locations across the South West.
Their operation was discovered after a roads policing officer stopped Grigore and his brother-in-law, Alexandru Dita, on Broad Weir, Bristol, in the early hours of 28 July last year, suspecting they were driving without insurance.
In the backseat of their BMW the officer, PC Matt Boiles, found a 19-year-old woman wearing nightwear sat next to a suitcase, which raised his suspicions.
Checks on the Police National Computer revealed Dita had previous convictions for human trafficking offences and both men were arrested.
The woman subsequently provided a statement to officers in which she told how Grigore had arranged for her to travel from Germany to work as a sex worker.
As Grigore was booked into police custody, officers attended a property on Bloy Street, Bristol, which he gave as his home address. There, they found his wife, Mirela Mincu, his sister Adriana Dita and three women who told the officers they were sex workers.
Evidence found within the property suggested it was being used as a brothel while investigators later found adverts online offering sexual services for each of the other three women.
Enquiries into the adverts found they had been set up using Mincu’s email address while classified adverts in Romanian publications were also found with Mincu’s mobile number provided for people to contact.
Officers also attended another address on Tudor Road which had been rented by Grigore after the woman found in the car told officers she lived there. In the property were two other sex workers leading officers to believe the property was also being used as a brothel.
Financial investigations were subsequently carried out by detectives. These revealed more than one hundred thousand pounds had passed through the bank accounts of Mincu and Alexandru Dita in the preceding 12 months while significant sums were also deposited into the accounts of Grigore and Adriana Dita during the same period.
All four entered guilty to pleas to various offences at Bristol Crown Court earlier this year and were sentenced at the same court today.
- Marin Grigore, was jailed for 21 months for controlling prostitution for gain, arranging or facilitating travel of a person with a view to exploitation and acquiring, using and/or possessing criminal property.
- Alexandru Dita, 30, of Burchells Green Road, Kingswood, South Gloucestershire was jailed for two years for controlling prostitution for gain and using and/or possessing criminal property.
- Mirela Mincu, 32, of Roman Road, Bristol was jailed for 23 months, suspended for two years for controlling prostitution for gain and using and/or possessing criminal property. She will also be subject to a three month curfew and have to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work
- Adriana Dita, 26, also of Roman Road, was given a 12 month community order requiring her to do 50 hours of unpaid work for using and/or possessing criminal property.
Senior Investigation Officer Detective Inspector Mark Newbury said: “As a result of some great work by one of our roads policing officers who recognised there was more than met the eye when he stopped a suspicious car, we have successfully dismantled a prostitution ring which saw at least one woman trafficked from abroad to work in brothels.
“While we didn’t uncover evidence any women had been forced into prostitution, there was no shortage of proof they were being exploited and clear evidence at least one had been manipulated and coerced into becoming a sex worker.
“In her statement, the woman found in the car revealed Marin Grigore had lured her to the UK with the promise he would leave his wife so they could begin a relationship. He used her feelings for him and desire to move to the UK to manipulate her into working for him at his brothels.
“Grigore and Alexandru Dita were clearly the ring leaders of the operation which saw them make huge sums of money from women selling sexual services.
“Playing an equal role in the setup was Mincu – who we established through her text messages and the online adverts, coordinated most of the women’s appointments.
“None of those involved were able to account for their bank balances with only Grigore apparently having a job – cleaning cars for £50 a day.
“It is totally unacceptable they should benefit from their activities and we will seek to confiscate their illegal earnings through the Proceeds of Crime Act.”
DI Newbury added: “We care about the safety and welfare of sex workers and the woman found in the car in her dressing gown, along with those found at Grigore’s home address and several others connected with the inquiry were spoken to by specialist officers and offered support.
“I hope this case shows how committed we are to ensuring those who exploit vulnerable people are brought to justice.”