California men to be extradited to Central Texas to face sex-related charges

Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 5:39 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Two men from California will soon be extradited to Central Texas for sex-related crimes.

McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara held a press conference Tuesday afternoon to announce the arrest of three men, two from the Los Angeles area, in connection with sex-related crimes.

“Just like these two jerks here out in California, we’re going to bring them back here for McLennan County Justice,” said Sheriff McNamara. “If we’re needed other places, that’s where we’re going to go.”

Jarrod Brandt, 33, of Los Angeles, has been charged with online solicitation of a minor. Brandt is in the Los Angeles County Jail.

Xikai Zhang, 31, of Chino Hills, has been charged with aggravated promotion of prostitution. Zhang is in the San Bernardino County Jail.

While their cases are unrelated, McNamara says detectives with his human trafficking unit, Joseph Scaramucci and Andrew Hermes, arrested them both in California with the help of authorities there.

“He’s commissioned federally so it gives us the ability to go wherever we need to go to pursue these cases,” said McNamara.

Scaramucci says Brandt was trying to entice a 14-year-old girl in McLennan County to perform sexual acts.

“It wasn’t law enforcement pretending to be a 14-year-old, that was an actual 14-year-old who was being groomed and abused by that gentleman,” said Scaramucci.

“The mom heard the daughter having a phone call in the middle of the night, so mom went digging trying to find more, and I think that’s where those relationships being built are extremely important, because once that happened, then the child is able to talk to mom about it and then bring in law enforcement.”

Zhang, Scaramucci said, is accused of advertising sex acts for at least 21 massage parlors across the country, including ones which used to be in McLennan County before they were shutdown by the MCSO.

“Zhang came onto our radar because he was promoting different massage businesses, when we started trailing different sex ads, they were all coming back to him,” said Scaramucci. “So when we spiderwebbed off of him, at this point we were able to identify a minimum of 21 parlors in twelve different states that he’s promoting sexual acts for.”

“He started here and there are multiple throughout the state,” said Scaramucci. “That one took about a year because it just kept getting more and more substantial.”

McNamara also announced a third, unrelated arrest by the unit. Roberto Rojas, 31, of Dallas, is charged with solicitation of prostitution.

The Sheriff believes there could be more victims in all three cases and is hoping they come forward to law enforcement.

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