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One arrested in human trafficking attempt in Camarillo


The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office thwarted a human trafficking attempt in a Camarillo motel last week, authorities said Thursday.

Authorities said that at 10:20 a.m. March 30, police responded to a call of possible prostitution at the Quality Inn & Suites, 984 W. Ventura Blvd.

After conducting an investigation and multiple interviews, authorities said they determined illegal prostitution activities were taking place at the motel.

A 51-year-old woman in one of the rooms was found to be a victim of human trafficking, according to investigators. She was provided with county services for victims of human trafficking, which inform them of their rights and options for safely leaving their trafficking situation, according to authorities.

Through the investigation, authorities said they learned one of the motel clerks, a 27-year-old male from Camarillo, was aware of the trafficking and aided in its occurrence there. The man was arrested on suspicion of aiding prostitution and was later cited and released from custody with a pending court date, authorities said.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate. (Read article here)

Victims as young as 14 found in human trafficking probe in Camarillo; 1 suspect arrested



A Sacramento man was arrested on suspicion of human trafficking offenses last week after victims, including female juveniles, were found in a Camarillo hotel, authorities said.

Ventura County Sheriff’s Office detectives launched an investigation March 20 after a Citrus Heights police detective informed deputies that a 14-year-old female runaway may have been in the Camarillo area.

The 14-year-old was reportedly seen in an internet post advertising sexual services, leading the detective from Citrus Heights, a suburb of Sacramento, to believe she was a victim of human trafficking.

Deputies said they searched lodging locations in Camarillo and in the early morning hours of March 21 found the 14-year-old at a hotel with two other females ages 17 and 22. (Read full article here)

3 arrested as new human trafficking case emerges in Ventura


Three Fresno men were arrested Saturday on suspicion of human trafficking in Ventura, authorities said.

Ventura police said they were alerted about 5:30 a.m. to the victim by the National Human Trafficking Center after the 17-year-old female called a hotline and said she was hiding in the area of Valentine Road and Victoria Avenue.

Officers found the victim and took her to the police station, where she told detectives she had been with three men over the past three days in San Diego County and “was forced to commit acts of prostitution,” police said in a news release. The men told her she was not free to leave and threatened her if she did not comply, police said.

The victim gave officers descriptions of the suspects and their vehicle and said they had been staying at La Quinta Inn, 5818 Valentine Road, police said.

Detectives with the agency’s street crimes unit went to the inn and found the vehicle, authorities said. A traffic stop was conducted on it about 10:30 a.m. after the men were seen leaving the room, police said. A loaded firearm was found in a search of the vehicle, police said.

The victim later identified the men from the traffic stop as her captors, and all three were arrested, police said. Brian Lewis, 21, Dashawn Jackson, 18, and Dameon Howard, 20, were arrested on suspicion of human trafficking and conspiracy to commit a crime, police said. Lewis also was arrested on suspicion of carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle, authorities said. (Read full article here)


Ex-probation officer sentenced for child porn


(Photo: Ventura County Sheriff’s Office)

A former Ventura County probation officer was sentenced Friday to a year in jail and five years of probation involving child pornography charges.

James Richard Schmitt, 54, pleaded guilty in December to two felony charges of possession of child pornography and was sentenced in Ventura County Superior Court.

Schmitt, who was working as a senior deputy probation officer, was arrested after a joint investigation by the FBI and the Ventura County District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation found that the Oxnard man had been using an online service that provided content involving sexually exploited children.

According to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, Yahoo in 2014 found certain account holders based in the Philippines were using its service to traffic child pornography. Yahoo tracked the seller accounts to buyer accounts all around the world, prosecutors said. (Read full article here)



From left: Jose Juan Ramualdo-Posadas, Christopher Allen Bouchard and Reynal Reginio Guillen are seen in booking photos after being arrested in a sexual predator sting operation. (Ventura Police Department)

Three alleged sexual predators have been arrested in Ventura after detectives posed as teenage girls in internet chat rooms, authorities announced Tuesday.

Christopher Allen Bouchard, 48, of La Crescenta, Reynal Reginio Guillen, 54, of Sherman Oaks, and Jose Juan Ramualdo-Posadas, 32, of Corona, were taken into custody without incident Friday after engaging in online conversations with investigators and arriving at an agreed-upon location, police said.

The multi-agency sting was conducted by personnel from the Ventura Police Department, Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, District Attorney’s Office and Human Traffic Enforcement Team, according to a news release.

Detectives, posing as 14- and 15-year-old girls, entered various chat rooms “primarily designed for teens,” the statement said.

“As the investigation unfolded, adult male sexual predators got onto the same chat room and contacted the undercover officer,” the news release said. “Each of the suspects engaged (the officer) in sexually explicit conversation, describing in detail what sex acts they wanted to perform with the teenage girl.”

According to authorities, each suspect agreed to meet and pick up the girl at or near what they believed was the teen’s home in the 2100 block of Victoria Avenue. (Read full article here)

Two charged with pimping a minor in Ventura




Two people were charged with felony offenses Friday related to their alleged involvement in the human sex trafficking of a minor in Ventura, officials said.

Asia Jones, 18, of Riverside County, and Arkansas native Percy Stanley, 27, were charged with felony causing a minor to engage in a commercial sex act and pimping a minor, according to Ventura County Superior Court records.

The pair was arrested by Ventura police on Wednesday after a witness reported at about 2:15 p.m. that the minor and a man were having sex in a neighbor’s side yard, police said. Stanley was also arrested on a felony warrant for human trafficking of a minor in a San Bernardino County case, police said.

The victim was identified as a 16-year-old girl missing out of Riverside County, police said. Ventura police Sgt. Jerry Foreman said he did not know how long the girl had been missing. (Read full article here)

Suspect accused of pimping in Ventura


A Los Angeles man was arrested Thursday in Ventura on suspicion of prostitution-related offenses, including pimping and pandering, police said.

Ventura police said they arrested Byron Haskins, 27, after they received a tip around noon about possible prostitution activities at La Quinta Inn in the 5800 block of Valentine Road.

Police said when they arrived, they saw a man wanted by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office in connection with failing to appear in court after being charged with weapons-related crimes following an arrest in Santa Ana in October.

It’s at least the second call to the Ventura hotel on reports of prostitution. Ventura police made two arrests Dec. 20 after receiving a call of a possible female victim being held against her will.

Haskins was taken to Ventura County jail, where he was being held. (Read article here)

2 accused of holding woman against her will at Ventura hotel




Two suspects were arrested at a Ventura hotel after a woman claimed she was forced into prostitution and held against her will.

Ventura police arrested Demarea Williams, 23, and Monay Lewis, 21, after officers responded to a call at about 1 a.m. Tuesday of a possible female victim being held against her will at La Quinta Inn in the 5800 block of Valentine Road, authorities said.

When authorities arrived at the hotel parking lot, they found a female matching the victim’s description inside a car. Williams was standing outside the vehicle, Sgt. Gerald Foreman said.

According to authorities, the 21-year-old woman was being forced to have sex with various men for money, and the proceeds allegedly went to Williams. Investigators allege the woman had been “trafficked up and down the coast” of California as well as in Arizona and Texas. (Read full article here)

Camarillo couple arrested for human trafficking

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CAMARILLO, Calif. – A couple is behind bars for allegedly prostituting a 15-year-old teenage girl. It’s unclear if the girl is related to the couple.

Jessica Lynn Stanley, 26, of Simi Valley and Robert Ryan McGraa, 35, or Thousand Oaks, had been staying at a Camarillo motel in the 1600 block of E. Daily Drive when the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office received a tip of the alleged human trafficking.

Investigators say Stanley had posted several escort advertisements under an alias on various websites, such as Backpage.com. During an undercover operation, Stanley allegedly arranged a meeting between the undercover detective and the 15-year-old teen for sex. (Read full article here)

Five arrested after months-long investigation into human trafficking ring

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A human trafficking ring that forced at least 25 Chinese women into prostitution in motels across Southern California, where they earned millions of dollars for their alleged captors, was busted this month and five people were arrested, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

Authorities said they launched a six-month investigation into the network after deputies discovered a potential victim of human trafficking during a prostitution sting at the Comfort Inn in Camarillo. Authorities uncovered evidence at the motel of a larger group operating across the region, Undersheriff Gary Pentis said at a news conference in Thousand Oaks.

“Commercial sex is nothing short of modern-day slavery,” Pentis said, adding that such operations are pervasive. “This is a hideous crime that has an impact on all of us.”

The illicit operation was run much like a corporation, officials said, and the victims took in about $350,000 a month for the organizers.

The alleged ringleader, identified as Hsin Chieh “Jerry” Wang, worked as the network’s dispatcher and took calls from hundreds of men each month who answered sexually explicit ads on backpage.com, Pentis said.

Another suspect … (Read full article here)