A Ventor man has been arrested in connection with a male prostitution investigation that included the trafficking of boys in their teens to early 20s, authorities said.
Marc A. Branch, 39, was arrested Friday night at his North Newport Avenue apartment, according to Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa.
Branch is accused of operating a male prostitution ring from his home in which young men were allegedly induced to use heroin and cocaine and then prostituted to male clients, according to investigators.
They allege that Branch lured "vulnerable" men, including victims who were estranged from their families, to his apartment. He would allegedly give them drugs and alcohol to control them and prostitute them to his clients, investigators say.
"When we developed information about Branch's alleged crimes, we moved quickly to arrest him and rescue his alleged victims," Chiesa said in a statement.
"The new Human Trafficking Unit we formed earlier this year in the Division of Criminal Justice will continue to cooperate with partners like the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to aggressively investigate any cases of human trafficking in New Jersey," Chiesa added.
Branch was charged with human trafficking, sexual assault and prostituting a minor, among other charges, the Attorney General's Office said.
Mostly cloudy skies tonight with patchy drizzle/fog for some overnight.
Another mild day tomorrow. Highs in the low 60s.
Unsettled weather arrives Thursday night & Friday with our next cold front. With the blast of cold air that follows, we'll probably have a dry day on Saturday, and the chance of a Sunday wintry mix into the afternoon and evening. Stay tuned!