Fugitive in Philadelphia prostitution case nabbed after 4-year manhunt

Prosecutors say John Guerra was apprehended after a four-year manhunt for his role leading a Philadelphia-area prostitution ring. (Photo courtesy of Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office)

Authorities say they've apprehended the ringleader of a Philadelphia-area prostitution organization after a four-year manhunt.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office said 40-year-old John "G" Guerra was taken into custody Thursday by the state police's organized crime unit.

Guerra is accused recruiting girls and women as young as 17 into his prostitution organization by offering them cash or drugs, then using intimidation and violence to control them.

His group allegedly advertised the women's services on Craigslist's erotic section, closely monitored their activities, and beat them.

Guerra and three other members of the alleged prostitution ring -- Elton "Marvin" Cromwell, Edinelson "Eddie" Mendez Jr., and Duane Roger "D boy" Thomas -- were charged in 2010. Guerra is facing charges that include sexual exploitation of children, sexual abuse of children, prostitution, aggravated assault, corruption of minors, criminal conspiracy and drug offenses.

Cromwell, Mendez and Thomas have pleaded guilty in the case, prosecutors said, while Guerra remained on the run.

"I hope that some relief comes for the women terrorized and exploited by this individual," Attorney General Kathleen Kane said in a statement. "He is finally going to pay for his heinous crimes. Human trafficking is an alarming worldwide crisis and the effects of sex slavery are devastating for victims and their families."

Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or ebabay@philly.com. Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443 or BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.