lawsuit

A woman has filed a federal lawsuit against several Fairfax County police officers, alleging they participated in a sex trafficking ring and that superiors stymied efforts to investigate their misconduct.

The woman, identified in court papers under the pseudonym Jane Doe, hails from Costa Rica. She was lured to the United States in October 2010 under false pretenses and ensnared in a trafficking ring in Fairfax County upon arrival, the lawsuit says. 

Doe says she was then trapped for several years in a trafficking ring run by Hazel Marie Sanchez Cerdas, who pleaded guilty in 2019 to a single felony count of interstate and foreign travel or transportation to aid in racketeering. She was sentenced to two and a half years in prison.

Doe says she escaped the ring in April 2015. She later offered corroborating evidence about the trafficking ring to federal investigators, which prosecutors used to indict Sanchez in early 2019. Doe’s name was similarly withheld in those proceedings, where she is identified only by the initials M.R.F. 

Before federal investigators uncovered the ring, Doe says that Fairfax police were knowledgeable of it and even participated. Doe alleges that Sanchez was tipped off about FCPD sting operations by two former officers; in response, Doe alleges she was trafficked to the two, who sexually assaulted her.

Doe further alleges that FCPD superiors suppressed efforts to uncover wrongdoing. The lawsuit says that FBI officials discovered the possible involvement of Fairfax County police but ultimately referred the matter to FCPD. 

Doe filed the lawsuit against the officers in October. After a federal court granted her request to reveal the identities of two officers, she named the officers and their superiors, including former chief Edwin Roessler, in an amended complaint filed in December. 

FPCD referred questions about the lawsuit to the county’s public affairs office, which declined to comment. 

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