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Press Release: Operation Reclaim and Rebuild
Agency: Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force
Station Area: Riverside County
Written Date: January 30, 2018 Time: 12:00 PM
Incident Date: January 25, 2018 Time: 1:00 PM to 11:00 PM
Incident Location: City of Temecula
Reporting Officer: Sergeant John Sawyer
File Number(s): Numerous

Details:

On January 25th, 2018, the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, working cooperatively with the Temecula Police Department’s Problem Oriented Policing Team, participated in “Operation Reclaim & Rebuild.” Operation Reclaim and Rebuild is a coordinated statewide law enforcement effort that seeks to send a clear message that human trafficking will not be tolerated in California. During the three-day enforcement period for this operation, participating law enforcement agencies throughout California proactively focused their efforts on rescuing human trafficking victims, identifying and arresting their captors, and disrupting the demand for sex trafficking victims.

In Riverside County, law enforcement officers placed decoy advertisements on a popular classified advertisement website commonly used for the solicitation of prostitution. These officers then responded to prospective customers who replied to these advertisements. Once an agreement for prostitution was brokered, the customers were arrested upon their arrival at a pre-determined meeting location.

While conversing with the callers, some expressed a sexual interest in, and ultimately agreed to meet with a minor for sex acts. The “minor” was in actuality an undercover task force officer posing as an underage female. The suspects who knowingly believed they were meeting with a minor for prostitution were arrested for solicitation of a minor for lewd acts, a felony.

In total, RCAHT task force officers and Temecula POP Team officers arrested seven individuals for misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution, and two individuals for felony solicitation of a minor for lewd acts. All of these arrests were made in the city of Temecula.

Arrested during the operation for solicitation of prostitution were:

  • Brandon Crippen, 30, Fairfield
  • Joseph Gamez, 31, Murrieta
  • William McDaniel, 25, Murrieta
  • Leonzo Pasqual, 40, Murrieta
  • Derf Rivera, 24, Corona
  • Jose Salazar, 28, Menifee
  • Jeffrey Warfield, 50, Menifee

The two suspects arrested for soliciting a minor for lewd acts were identified as:

  • Gregg Hassler, 55, Temecula
  • Richard Woods, 37, Menifee

All subjects arrested during this operation were transported to the Southwest Detention Center for booking.

Brandon Crippen Joseph Gamez Gregg Hassler
William McDaniel Leonzo Pasqual Derf Rivera
Jose Salazar Jeffrey Warfield Richard Woods

Prostitution is not a “victimless” crime. Ninety-five percent of sex trafficking victims are women or children. Those involved in commercial sexual exploitation frequently have long histories of emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse or trauma in their backgrounds.  The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates 1 in 6 endangered runaways reported are likely victims of sex trafficking. Sex trafficking victims are often subjected not only to severe forms of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse at the hands of their trafficker, but are also frequently physically and sexually assaulted by those that solicit them for prostitution.

The Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force seeks to disrupt and dismantle sex trafficking rings operating within Riverside County and will aggressively identify, pursue and apprehend those who seek to exploit those whom are most vulnerable. Through proactive enforcement operations such as Reclaim and Rebuild, RCAHT also works to reduce future demand for sex trafficking by identifying and arresting sex buyers.

The RCAHT Task Force extends its sincere appreciation to the Temecula Police Department for its support in conducting this joint operation. Anyone with questions about this operation can contact Sergeant John Sawyer of the RCAHT Task Force at (951) 955-1700, or via email at jsawyer@riversidesheriff.org.

The Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force was formed in 2010 to address crimes involving the exploitation of victims via force, fraud, or coercion. These cases often involve the commercial sex trafficking of children, as well as incidents of forced labor, indentured servitude, debt bondage, or slavery. The RCAHT Task Force is a multidisciplinary task force which combines the investigative resources of both local and federal law enforcement. The RCAHT Task Force also provides victim services and education/outreach through partnerships with the non-profit groups Operation SafeHouse and Million Kids.  The law enforcement component of RCAHT is currently composed of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Riverside County District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations, the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with part-time participation of the Hemet Police Department and Riverside Police Department.

Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff's CrimeTips online form.

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