The CEO of what California’s attorney general is calling “the world’s top online brothel” has beenarrested at Houston’s international airport on a warrant issued out of California.Texas and California authorities say Carl Ferrer was taken into custody as he walked off a jet that had just arrived from Amsterdam at Houston’s George Bush International Airport on Thursday afternoon.

Ferrer, 55, is the head of Backpage.com, an online advertising website that posts ads for a number of items and services, but California Attorney General Kamala Harris says the site makes millions of dollars operating as an online brothel.

“Raking in millions of dollars from the trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable victims is outrageous, despicable and illegal,” Harris said in a statement announcing Ferrer’s arrest. “Backpage and its executives purposefully and unlawfully designed Backpage to be the world’s top online brothel."

Dallas headquarters of Backpage.com searched

As Ferrer was being taken into custody by members of the Texas Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Unit, other members of the unit served search warrants on the Dallas headquarters of the company.

“Making money off the backs of innocent human beings by allowing them to be exploited for modern-day slavery is not acceptable in Texas,” Attorney General Paxton said in a separate statement.

“I intend to use every resource my office has to make sure those who profit from the exploitation and trafficking of persons are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

Prosecutors: 99 percent of Backpage's income from 'adult' ads

Since its inception in 2010, Backpage has expanded across the country and throughout the world, including sites for more than 30 cities in California.

With its gross income now at $2.5 million per month, prosecutors say 99 percent of that income comes from ads in its “adult” section, where ads using coded words and nearly nude photos offer sex for money. Some of the postings, according to investigators, advertise victims of sex trafficking and children under the age of 18.

Ferrer was arrested on a warrant alleging the pimping of a minor, pimping and conspiracy to commit pimping. Two controlling shareholders of Backpage, Michael Lacey and James Larkin, are also facing similar charges.

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