6 local men among 474 arrested in statewide human trafficking ca - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

6 local men among 474 arrested in statewide human trafficking case

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More than 30 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies announced Tuesday the arrests of hundreds of people during a three-day effort to combat human trafficking called "Operation Reclaim and Rebuild."

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office attended Tuesday's announcement at the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles. The operation conducted January 26-28 by the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force netted the following:

  • 28 commercially exploited children recovered
  • 27 adult victims recovered
  • 142 males arrested for solicitation
  • 36 males arrested for pimping

Across California, 474 arrests were made, 14 of which happened in Santa Barbara County.

Three different stings were carried out locally to identify human traffickers and related crimes, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office.

On Day 1, undercover investigators contacted prostitutes through advertising and arrested them. Two women were arrested at hotels in Santa Barbara. The sheriff's office says the women cited, released, and offered services from human trafficking victim advocates. Aaron Hoggard, 25, of Bakersfield was also arrested, accused of pimping and pandering a prostitute.

On Day 2, the sheriff's office says undercover investigators contacted prostitutes and waited for them to arrive at a hotel room in Goleta. Three women were arrested there. They were also offered help from experts. Anthony Syon, 45, of Las Vegas and Aida Garcia-Perez, 28, of Las Vegas were also arrested, accused of pimping and pandering a prostitute.

On Day 3, investigators with the sheriff's office conducted a reverse "John" sting where they placed an online ad, saying a prostitute was available at a Goleta hotel room. Deputies say the following men came to the hotel and were arrested on suspicion of solicitation of prostitution:

  • Martin Steinley, 20, of Santa Barbara
  • Zachary Harrison, 28, of Isla Vista
  • Damien Pearson, 30, of Santa Barbara
  • Eli Sheiman, 41, of Santa Barbara
  • Sergio Torres, 22, of Santa Barbara
  • Jose Aristondo Arreaga, 37, of Santa Barbara

"The Sheriff's Office will continue to conduct stings in order to rescue victims of human trafficking and arrest the suspects who are enslaving these victims," Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Lt. Brian Olmstead said in a statement.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

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