"Operation Miranda"

“Operation Miranda”

  • Sick couple tried to pull off the sick and twisted operation called Miranda.
  • Part of the operation was having sex slaves, video equipment and vicious torture and mutilation.

In 1985, a man named Charles Ng stole a vise from a hardware store in San Fransisco. The shopkeeper caught him on the act and alerted police. Charles ran away, but Leonard Lake, his closest friend at the time, decided later to go to the store and try to pay for the stolen vise. Police at the scene found Lake and his car suspicious -- the license plates were registered to another vehicle, the ID he carried belonged to a missing man named Robin Stapley. He was arrested when the routine search revealed a gun with a suppressor lying in the trunk.

While in custody and true identity revealed, he swallowed cyanide pills hidden carefully beforehand in his clothes that sent him into convulsions and eventually killed him four days later. The strange incident led police to a ranch transformed into a house of horrors. The fortified bunker was with hoarded illegal weapons, dead bodies, video equipment and tapes with vicious torture and mutilation of women.

In his diary, filled with sexual fantasies of sex slaves he planned to keep in the nuker after a nuclear holocaust, he wrote:

"God meant woman for cooking, cleaning house and sex. And when they are not in use, they should be locked up."

The rules on the wall of Lake's & Charles' bunker
The rules hanged on the wall of the bunker the female victims had to obey.

Leonard Lake


Lake's childhood was anything but normal. Despite being a bright child, he enjoyed dissolving small animals in chemicals -- a technique he later used to dispose of human victims. He was brought up by his grandmother, had sexual relationships with his sisters whom he liked to take nude photographs, apparently with the encouragement of his grandmother that was raising him.


After high school, he joined the military as a marine and served in Vietnam where he was first diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder. After 7 years in service, he was given a medical discharge because of his fragile mental state.

Living in San Francisco, he was involved in hippie lifestyle where he became increasingly obsessed with the idea of coming nuclear holocaust. In a hippie commune near Ukiah in California, he met Claralyn Balazsm who starred in pornographic movies Lake started to produce. Eventually, they got married. It was the second marriage for Lake. His first wife left him when she found out he was shooting and appearing in amateur porn involving bondage and sadomasochism.

Charles Ng


Charles was born in Hong Kong to a wealthy and disciplined Chinese family. From a young age, he was unable to refrain himself from the urge for stealing. He was 15 when he was expelled from school in North Yorkshire, England for stealing and returned to Hong Kong.

In 1978, at the age of 18, he moved to the United States on a student visa and studied biology in a College located in California, but dropped out after just one semester. At that time, he first met Leonard Lake, was involved in a hit-and-run accident, and to avoid prosecution he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps using false documents, claiming he was born in the United States.


Charles was unable to refrain from the urge for stealing; just after a year in service, he was arrested by the military police for stealing automatic weapons. And again trying to avoid the prosecution, he made his way back to Northern California to meet Lake, where he was arrested for a stash of illegal weapons and explosives. He pleaded guilty, and under a plea deal he was dishonorably discharged and paroled after spending 18 months in the military stockade.

•   •   •

Lake's favorite pastime hobby was collecting pornography, automatic weapons, and video equipment. He owned a cabin deep in the Sierra Nevada, California. It was a gift from his parents as a future retirement home, but Lake had a very different idea how to use the remote cabin -- he transformed it into a house of horrors where he can keep sex slaves and prepare for the nuclear holocaust.

After serving his time in the military prison, Charles immediately contacted Lake. Both men had (failed) military and criminal history, interest in perverted sex and torture. It didn't take long until Lake invited Charles to join him to enjoy the custom-built dungeon next to the cabin.

Lake had already started his killing spree murdered his brother Donald and his friend Charles Gunnar. The motive was money and need for a new identity.

The bunker of Charles Ng & Leonard Lake (crime scene photo)
House of horrors: The custom-built bunker.

"Operation Miranda"

Over the years, Lake had managed to construct an elaborate underground dungeon next to the cabin. This dungeon became the place where Lake and Ng would hold their victims while they tortured and raped them (sometimes for months on end). After they were done torturing these poor souls, they killed them.

In the video, Charles tells his victim Brenda O'Connor, "You can cry and stuff, like the rest of them, but it won't do any good. We are pretty... cold-hearted, so to speak."

An undated photo of Leonard Lake
An undated photo of Leonard Lake, probably taken at the time he was constructing the nuclear bunker.
Leonard Lake & Charles NG
Leonard Lake & Charles NG
The victims, from top left: Don Guiletti, Kathleen Allen, Michael Carroll, Robin Scott Stapley. Randy Johnson, Charles Gunnar, Donald Lake (brother of Charles Lake) and Paul Cosner.

The End

Lake dead, Charles was on the run once again, this time to Canada where he spent five long years fighting against his extradition to the United States.

Ironically, he was busted in Canada for shoplifting. Again. Trying to resist the arrest, he shot the security guard in hand. He spent four and a half years in prison before he was extradited back to the United States to face 12 counts of first-degree murder charges.

Security guard Sean Doyle who caught Charles Ng
Security guard Sean Doyle was shot in the hand as he detained Charles in a Hudson Bay store.

His trial finally began after six years. While both, the defence and State's prosecutor were preparing, Charles kept the court system busy with complaining about things like the strength of eyeglasses, temperature food, right to practice origami and demanding for new attorneys.

He decided to represent himself, delaying the process another year while he was busy researching the law. The prosecution was the most expensive trial in the history of the State of California -- $20 million of taxpayers money. Charles remains on death row in the biggest and State's oldest prison in San Quentin. San Quentin has a gas chamber, but since 90's the execution method is lethal injection.

Charles Ng
Charles Ng.
Leonard Lake
Leonard Lake.
Serial killers, Crime
In & Out
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