Industry News

David Elms (owner-The Erotic Review) suspected of Hiring a Hit Man

From the Arizona Republic

Phoenix police on Tuesday announced the arrest of a California sex industry mogul in connection to a murder-for-hire case after following up on a tip from an informant tied to the Desert Divas prostitution investigation.

David Elms, 37, could face charges of conspiracy to commit murder and additional felonies after his Sunday arrest shortly after he arrived in the Valley from California.

Elms, who was booked at a Maricopa County jail, is accused of contracting a hit man to murder a 32-year-old woman, according to police.

Police added that Elms ordered a 62-year-old man to be seriously injured as part of the contract.

“Obviously with a murder-for-hire case you have to get on it right away,” Phoenix Sgt. Andy Hill said.

A fellow sex industry leader described Elms as the “most influential man in the prostitution business in America” in a June story in The New York Times, which detailed his California-based business, The Erotic Review, as a sort of online order form for prostitutes.

Hill said police tracked Elms to an undisclosed location in Phoenix around midnight Sunday after receiving a tip from a suspect under investigation in the Desert Divas sex scandal.

The Desert Divas case, which is still under investigation, is described as the most far-reaching prostitution bust in Arizona history with links to operations in New Mexico and Pennsylvania.

Phoenix police last week released the names of thousands of Desert Divas clients taken from the sex business’ ledgers. Investigators said as many as 50 additional suspects, described as the operation’s leadership, could eventually be arrested and added to a list of 50 people already arrested in connection to the prostitution ring.

This summer, Elms went to court in California after he was accused of violating his probation on a 2006 conviction for possession of a firearm and drugs by failing several drug tests.

In addition to the recent conspiracy charges, Phoenix police said Elms could face charges of conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, conspiracy to possess narcotics for sale, conspiracy to commit misconduct involving weapons, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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