San Leandro Youth Minister Arrested in Florida Prostitution Bust
By Lisa Fernandez and Jodi Hernandez
Thursday, May 16, 2013
A San Leandro youth pastor was among dozens arrested during a massive prostitution sweep last week in Florida, who was in Orlando for a ministers conference.
Samuel Yoon, 45, who works at New Community Mission Church, a Southern Baptist church in San Mateo (http://www.ncmcem.org/), was arrested May 8 as part of an undercover sting in Polk County, Fla. In all, 92 people were arrested in a span of four days.
Yoon could not be reached for immediate comment, but a pastor at his predominantly Korean church told NBC Bay Area on Thursday that was was surprised at the allegations.
Yeong Kwon called Yoon a "good guy."
According to Kwon, Yoon has worked for six years at the church and oversees 40 youngsters.
Sheriff's deputies said Yoon responded to an ad posted by an undercover detective offering women for sale. Authorities say that he was looking to have sex with who he thought was a 14-year-old girl. He was in Orlando at the time, authorities said, to attend a youth ministry conference. He was arrested on charges of traveling to meet a minor, using a computer to solicit a felony, lewdness.
He has no prior criminal history, according to authorities.
Another key suspect in the prostitution was Mohammed Ahmed, originally from Illinois, who was on his honeymoon when he answered to an ad from an undercover detective posing as a prostitute, authorities said. When the 21-year-old man did not return to the hotel, his wife reported him missing, the sheriff's office said. His wife was later notified that he had been charged with prostitution and possession of marijuana.
Others arrested included 12 “pimps” who brought prostitutes to the undercover location, 39 prostitutes, 39 people who were willing to pay for sex from prostitutes and two others who went with suspects to the undercover location and were arrested on other charges, the sheriff’s office said.
The investigation took place from May 8 through May 11. Ahmed and Yoon were released from jail.
NBC Miami's Maria Camila Bernal contributed to this report.