Seven Busted in Sex Trafficking Sting

Written by Estero Bay News

June 6, 2024

A successful sting operation targeting sex trafficking of minors, netted seven alleged sexual predators, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

According to a news release, the SLO County D.A., Sheriff’s Department, and State Attorney General’s Office worked together on the 3-day sting operation.

“The operation took place May 15 to 17, “ the news release said, “and targeted adults seeking to sexually exploit children and victims of sex trafficking by using undercover agents and detectives posing as minors on various social media platforms and websites commonly used by predators.”

The names of those arrested were not released, as under State Law this is one of those non-violent crimes that prohibits public release of suspects’ names until after they are convicted.

The suspects all face felony charges, the release said, such as contact of a minor with the intent of sex; attempted lewd act with a child; and sending harmful content with the intent to seduce a minor. 

All seven were arrested and booked into County Jail. And although the sting involved the State Department of Justice, the local D.A. will handle the prosecutions.

County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said, “This operation reminds us yet again we must remain vigilant against those who would do harm to our most precious and vulnerable resource, our children. I am extremely grateful for the cooperation between the California Department of Justice, the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office and those units of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office, namely, the Special Operations Unit, which ultimately led to these arrests. Together, we have taken a crucial step in safeguarding our community.”

California Attorney General, Rob Bonta commented, “Let me be absolutely clear: Using the internet to target children for sex is a reprehensible and despicable crime. If you go after our children, we will hold you accountable. 

“I’m deeply grateful to our partners in San Luis Obispo County for their efforts to help keep our kids safe. At the California Department of Justice, we will continue to use all the tools at our disposal to protect the people of our state. Together, we can forge a safer future for all vulnerable individuals who rightfully deserve protection, freedom, and justice.”

And D.A. Dan Dow said this is a continuation of their fight against human trafficking and child sexual exploitation.

“Trafficking of children and adults for sex or labor is not ignored or overlooked here in San Luis Obispo County,” said D.A. Dow. “The San Luis Obispo County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force continues to aggressively pursue traffickers and would-be purchasers of children or adults for exploitation. I am grateful to the California Department of Justice for their outstanding partnership with our local agencies in apprehending these seven individuals who attempted to prey on vulnerable children in our County.”

If readers or someone you know is being forced to engage in any activity and cannot leave, you can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 to access help and services. 

The State A.G. offers these same services at: oag.ca.gov/victimservices; by phone at: 1-877-433-9069; or email to: VictimServices@doj.ca.gov.

And if you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. 

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