LATINO VOICES
01/31/2013 12:59 pm ET

Mike Rios, Alleged Head Of Prostitution Ring, Begins Trial

The young woman on the witness stand said Mike Rios approached her on the street with a school district business card and a job opportunity: He wanted her "to gather girls and sell them," she said.

Identified in court only as Valery, she testified Wednesday that she and others worked as prostitutes for Rios, a member of the Moreno Valley Unified School District Board of Education.

Valery's testimony came on the opening day of Rios' trial in Riverside County Superior Court. He faces 35 felony charges, including rape, pandering and pimping involving six females, two of them underage.

Valery, 21, with long black hair and bangs covering her forehead, bit her lip between questions. In addition to working as a prostitute for Rios, she said, she helped recruit other young women for him.

"He told me we had to get the best-looking girls so we could get more money for them," Valery said.

Prosecutors allege that Rios ran a prostitution ring out of his Moreno Valley home in 2011 and 2012. In opening statements, Deputy Dist. Atty. Michael Brusselback told the jury: "This is a case about greed. This is a case about money. This is a case about power."

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