Large-Scale Sex Trafficking Bust in California Results in 19 Arrests

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Large-Scale Sex Trafficking Bust in California Results in 19 Arrests

A wide-ranging child sex trafficking sting in California, dubbed “Operation White Elephant,” resulted in the arrests of 19 individuals.

The operations were conducted over three days, concluding on December 1.

Undercover agents and detectives posed as minors on various apps and websites to snare traffickers, thus helping the arrests.

The office of California Attorney General Rob Bonta spearheaded the California operation.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta reiterated the state’s stance against such sex trafficking crimes in a press release dated December 5.

“In California, we do not tolerate the sexual exploitation and human trafficking of children,” he stated. Bonta further asserted.

“Our fight against sexual exploitation and human trafficking will not waver because even one person being exploited is one too many.”

The suspects now face charges including communicating with a minor for sex, meeting with a minor for sexual purposes, sending harmful material to seduce a minor, and enticing a minor to produce pornography.

The Kings County Sheriff’s Department identified 17 of the suspects, which included:

Joshua Wilkinson, 35

Cody Mendes, 30

Ernesto Castro, 30

Benustiano Martinez Ceja, 30

Elijah Perez, 22

Juan Vasquez, 30

Jose Munoz Jimenez, 34

Leyser Padillia Galicia, 30

David Serrato, 35

Jose Garcia, 32

Andrew Prieto, 26

Jose Figueroa Laredo, 29

Jose Leno Martinez, 25

Raul Carrillo Flores, 38

Isaac Martinez, 29

Andrew Orosco, 24

Anthony Baffo, 47

Bonta said the Human Trafficking and Sexual Predator Apprehension Team within the Department of Justice was established to combat sex trafficking.

“This specialized team provides targeted support and taking aggressive measures to put an end to these heinous crimes in our state,” he explained.

“Together, we can create a safer future for all vulnerable individuals who deserve protection, freedom, and justice.”

The operation involved the following agencies:

The Kings County Sheriff’s Office

Department of Homeland Security Investigations

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Hanford Police Department

Lemoore Police Department

Police Department

Kings County Sheriff David Robinson said in a statement:

“Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation is a growing issue, requiring vigilance and constant attention,” he said.

“It can take place in any community, regardless of the community’s size or location.”

Two females were also rescued from a human trafficking situation during the operation.

READ: Top Pentagon Official Arrested in Massive Human Trafficking Sting

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