Police say a young mother was lured from her small town in Oklahoma to Miami under the promise of a better, more glamorous life, only to be duped into prostitution once she arrived in South Florida this week.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office on Thursday announced the arrest of the two people who investigators say planned the scam — Dimitri David Lubin, 23, and Fallon Elizabeth Dunkleberger, 25.
Not only did the two entice the woman to come to Miami, investigators said Lubin ended up holding the woman’s one-year-old child hostage for nearly a day once he thought she might be setting him up to police.
The investigation began days before Lubin and Dunkleberger were arrested when an anonymous tipster placed a call to the State Attorney’s Office Human Trafficking Task Force — which includes officers with Miami-Dade County, city of Miami and South Miami police, as well as U.S. Secret Service agents — reporting that a young woman was being trafficked by Lubin.
Police were able to match the phone number the tipster gave for Lubin with his name and number on the social media site, Eros.com.
“This call sent an undercover operation into action,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told reporters at a press conference announcing the arrests.
An undercover task force officer called the number and spoke with Dunkleberger, according to the arrest report. She set up a meeting at a hotel where she and the victim were. When they met with the undercover officer Tuesday, he and Dunkleberger arranged a price for sex with Dunkleberger and the victim for $1,400.
Once the agreement was made, officers came in the room and detained both Dunkelberger and the woman from Oklahoma, according to the arrest report.
A hidden video camera was recording the sting, the report states, and the footage shows the woman “timid, silent and visibly uncomfortable” in the moments leading up to officers coming into the room.
The woman told police she never intended to engage in prostitution and that she met Dunkleberger online. Dunkleberger had the woman follow her on her Instagram page, on which she refers to herself as a “content creator” and highlights the “Miami lifestyle of money, glamour and luxury,” the report states.
The woman told Dunkleberger she just got out of an abusive relationship and was struggling financially, according to the report.
“[Dunkleberger] befriended her and told her to come to Miami where men will pay you just to be a pretty girl to ride in their car,” police said.
Dunkleberger bought the woman a one-way plane ticket from Oklahoma to Miami. She was picked up at Miami International Airport by both Lubin and Dunkleberger, she told police, according to the report. They took her to a luxury apartment and bought her clothes, the report states.
At this point, Dunkleberger told the woman that she sometimes had sex with men for money, but the woman was not told she would have to do the same, according to the report.
In fact, it wasn’t until the moment she and Dunkleberger met with the man who ended up being a cop did she realize “she was deceived,” according to the report.
A kidnapped baby
What happened next “felt like a spy movie script,” Fernandez Rundle said.
Around 4 a.m. Wednesday, the woman called one of the task force officers and told him Lubin had her baby, according to the report. Lubin was the one who drove the women to the hotel room to begin with, and he said he would watch the baby while they were inside, according to the report.
Police set up a recorded phone call between the woman and Lubin in which she asked for her baby back. He told her he had the child, but to call him back using the phone’s video so he could be sure she wasn’t with police. She did. Then he told her a place to meet so he could pick her up.
At first, Lubin told her to meet him at a gas station. Police and Secret Service agents set up a perimeter around the gas station around 10:40 a.m. intending on arresting him when he showed up with the child. But once the woman arrived, he called her on a video call and told her to pan the phone so he could see if any cops were around, the report states.
Lubin then told her he no longer had the baby, but the child was in “good hands” and he would send an Uber to pick her up.
When the Uber driver showed up, cops told him what was happening. He gave them the address of where he was supposed to drop her off and police followed him there, hoping to grab Lubin.
The Uber took the women there, but once again, Lubin didn’t show up, according to the report.
The woman called Lubin, demanding the return of her child. That’s when he told her he suspected she was setting him up to police.
Around 4:30 p.m., Lubin called the woman and said he was bringing her the child to the same undisclosed location. He did so, and police and Secret Service agents subsequently arrested him. The child was not harmed, police added.
Both Lubin and Dunkleberger are being held at Guilford Turner Knight Correctional Center without bond. Lubin is charged with human trafficking, kidnapping, imprisonment of a child under 13 years old and deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution.
As for Dunkelberger, she’s charged with human trafficking, deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution and engaging in prostitution.
Police ask anyone who suspects human trafficking is happening to call the State Attorney’s Office Human Trafficking Task Force at 305-349-7867.