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Investigators believe the suspects are involved in sex trafficking in four states.

COURTESY DOJ - The seal of the US Marshals ServiceThree young foreign national men face numerous charges in Oregon and other states for robberies and violent assaults on women in late 2020, federal and local law enforcement agencies said on Monday, May 10.

Yuan Gao, Xinyu Zhou and Arian Esfandiari were arrested for other similar events in Omaha, Nebraska, on December 10, 2020, officials said. Just a week later, Gao and Zhou were indicted in Portland on serious charges.

Gao, 19, Zhou, 21 and 18-year-old Esfandiari are suspected of more similar crimes in at least three other states, officials said.

Court documents obtained by KOIN 6 News indicate the crimes in the Multnomah County indictment happened on Nov. 5, 2020. The U.S. Marshals spotted the men Nov. 11. A Beaverton robbery took place Nov. 25. The Nebraska indictment is for crimes on Dec. 14, and they were arrested the next day in Omaha.

How the case escalated

U.S. Marshals were looking for a fugitive in the 9700 block of Northeast Sandy Boulevard on Nov. 11. Two men, not connected to the fugitive, were seen leaving a hotel room when one of the marshals spotted a woman bound to a chair inside the room. She'd been severely assaulted. They made a plan to rescue her and police soon found another bound-and-beaten woman a short distance away.

The women were both Chinese foreign-born nationals brought to the U.S. under fraudulent visas, investigators said. It was also learned the two men had operations in Portland and other cities in Oregon and around the country.

Two weeks later, Beaverton police were called to a robbery at a hotel on Southwest 158th Avenue and found another woman beaten and robbed by three men. Authorities said she was attacked with a hammer and was seriously injured. This was the third attack of a similar nature at that same hotel during 2020, officials said.

Beaverton and Portland police worked with the FBI to identify the three suspects.

Gao and Zhou face a total of 20 charges in Portland for compelling prostitution, robbery in the first- and second-degrees, assault in the first- and second-degrees and unlawful use of a weapon

Once their cases are resolved in Nebraska, they are expected to be extradited to Washington County.

Investigators believe there may be more victims. Anyone with information is asked to call Beaverton Police Detective Chad Opitz at 503.526.2674.

KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune.


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