FBI raids homes of former ‘Phoenix New Times’ publishers and operators of sex ads website

Carl Ferrer, left, James Larkin and Michael Lacey were charged in a pimping case in 2016 in connection with international classified ad website Backpage.com. A judge rejected those charges. /Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office

Cindy McCain called it a ‘good day’ in the fight against human trafficking.

By Megan Cassidy and Richard Ruelas | The Republic

Federal law-enforcement officers descended on the Arizona homes of two former Backpage executives Friday, and a message on the classifieds website said it had been “seized.”

Local FBI officials confirmed “law enforcement activity” Friday morning at the Sedona-area home of Michael Lacey, a co-founder of Backpage.com.

An Arizona Republic reporter also witnessed FBI activity at the Paradise Valley home of Jim Larkin, another Backpage co-founder.

The raids come amid what appears to be a shutdown of the website.

A screenshot posted on the Canadian version of Backpage contained what appears to be a notice from the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Backpage.com and affiliated websites have been seized,” the headline of the notice read.

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