Christopher Allen Bouchard, 48, of La Crescenta, was arrested Friday in connection with a sexual predator sting. (Photo: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)
A multi-agency crackdown on human trafficking in California last week ended with hundreds of arrests and dozens of victimized women and children being rescued, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced.
The sweep, named “Operation Reclaim and Rebuild,” lasted from Jan. 26 to Jan. 28 and involved federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and task forces, including the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, officials said.
Detectives conducted “john” stings to target men and women involved in prostitution and posed online as juveniles to go after pedophiles.
In all, 28 children and 27 adult victims were rescued, the Sheriff’s Department said in a statement. About 140 men were arrested for solicitation and 36 others on suspicion of pimping. In total, 474 people were arrested, authorities said.
About 70% of children who are trafficked come from foster care, Sheriff Jim McDonnell said. But, he added, authorities have found victims from all walks of life.
“They’re looking for love. They’re looking for someone that cares about them. The pimp says that they’re going to give them this then leads them down a path of destruction,” McDonnell said. “But any family, any kind anywhere with the Internet can get involved in a situation where they think they’re meeting someone who cares about them on the web …and then from there could drug them and drag them into the life of this type of behavior. Enslave them, essentially.”
The National Human Trafficking Resource Center lists California as the state with the highest number of reported human-trafficking victims, with 1,323 cases reported in 2016.
Dozens of women and children rescued in human-trafficking sweep in California that nets 474 arrests Joseph Serna Feb 02 2017
Jose Juan Ramualdo Posadas, 32, of Corona, was arrested Friday in connection with a sexual predator sting. (Photo: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)
Three men were arrested by Ventura police during a sexual predator sting, officials said Tuesday.
Christopher Allen Bouchard, 48, of La Crescenta; Reynal Reginio Guillen, 54, of Sherman Oaks and Jose Juan Ramualdo Posadas, 32, of Corona, were arrested in the operation, which was conducted during a 12-hour operation that started at noon Friday, officials said.
According to Ventura police, detectives entered into various internet chat rooms, posing as 14- and 15-year-old girls. Officials said adult males also entered the chat rooms and contacted the officers, believing them to be young females.
The males allegedly engaged the officers in sexually explicit conversation, including describing acts they wished to perform, authorities said.
The men also agreed to meet and pick up the teenaged female from or near where they believed she resided, officials said. Upon their arrival to the location, the men were taken into custody without incident, authorities reported.
The three men were arrested on suspicion of communicating sexual activity with a minor and arranging a meeting with a minor with sexual intent, authorities said.
The sting was a joint operation involving the Ventura Police Department, Ventura County Sheriff's Office and the Ventura County District Attorney's Offices along with the Ventura County Human Trafficking Enforcement Team, officials said.
The operation was also a part of the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force's “Operation Reclaim & Rebuild,” a statewide effort intended to help victims of human trafficking and sex slavery and to target sexual predators. The operations commemorate January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month.