Seven men from the Central Coast face charges for solicitation of prostitution after they were arrested during a statewide anti-human trafficking operation.
District Attorney Dan Dow announced Friday the filing of criminal charges against seven individuals for solicitation of prostitution and the conviction of one individual for human trafficking.
In a press release, officials said the eight cases are based on arrests made during "Operation Reclaim and Rebuild 2020" that took place across California during the month of January.
The operation was aimed at breaking networks of human trafficking on the Central Coast, identifying and assisting survivors of trafficking and reducing the demand for trafficking of minors.
"The demand for prostitution creates a lucrative cash market that traffickers fill with victims - many who are children," said District Attorney Dan Dow. "Our local anti-human trafficking purchaser sting operations are designed to reduce the demand for commercial sex that leads to exploitation of minors and adults every day in our community. If you are considering purchasing sexual services, please stop and consider that one million kids are trafficked for sex each year."
32-year-old Guy Alvin Azama, Jr. of San Francisco was arrested and convicted of human trafficking and pimping of a human trafficking survivor, officials said.
According to authorities, he plead guilty to the charge in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court and was sentenced on May 5, 2020 to serve five years in State Prison for this new conviction.
Due to the pandemic, Azama is currently in custody at the San Luis Obispo County Jail and has not yet been transported to a state prison due to coronavirus concerns among the inmate population.
The following individuals are further charged with solicitation of prostitution:
- Vernon Randall Anderson (66), of Templeton
- Edgar Ernesto Blasmendez(26), of Lompoc
- David Sean Byrnes (54), of San Luis Obispo
- Jake Daniel Ceniseroz (32), of Atascadero
- Maximino Maldonadoguzman (45), of Santa Maria
- Stephan Ruffino (66), of Santa Maria
All seven defendants charged with solicitation are scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 in the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court.
"Operation Reclaim and Rebuild 2020" was led by the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force.
The San Luis Obispo County effort included nearly 50 law enforcement and partner staff members from the following organizations: Santa Barbara County Sheriff, Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office, California Highway Patrol, San Luis Obispo County Probation, Federal Bureau of Investigation (Santa Maria Office), California Department of Justice, Deliverfund, and the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Bureau of Investigation.
The San Luis Obispo County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force was established by Dow in 2014.
Editor's note: This article was edited to remove the name of one of the men who was initially charged with solicitation of prostitution after his case was dismissed.