RIVERSIDE COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT
Sheriff Chad Bianco
|Press Release:||Operation Reclaim and Rebuild 2020|
|Station Area:||Special Investigations Bureau|
|Written Date:||February 3, 2020||Time:||5:00 PM|
|Incident Date:||January 27 - 30, 2020||Time:|
|Incident Location:||Various locations in Riverside County (Corona, Temecula, Moreno Valley, Hemet, Palm Desert)|
|Reporting Officer:||Sergeant John Sawyer|
The Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RCAHT) effected seventy-two arrests during a nearly week-long proactive enforcement operation that targeted online prostitution and those whose demand for these unlawful activities fuels an illicit underground economy, both locally as well as across the State of California. Riverside County’s role in this operation, dubbed Operation Reclaim & Rebuild, ran for four consecutive days before concluding on January 30, 2020. The operation was part of an annual multi-agency statewide initiative that focuses on rescuing victims of sexual slavery and human trafficking, identifying and arresting their captors, and disrupting demand for these vulnerable victims. Operation Reclaim & Rebuild is timed to coincide with National Human Trafficking Awareness Month and serves as a reminder that human trafficking will not be tolerated in California.
Last year’s “Operation Reclaim & Rebuild” included participation from over 90 law enforcement agencies statewide and resulted in the rescue of over 56 juvenile and adult trafficking victims, and the arrest of 339 individuals for various crimes associated with human trafficking.
For this year’s operation, RCAHT Task Force Officers, working in close cooperation with our allied Riverside County law enforcement partners, held operations in the cities of Temecula, Hemet, Corona, Moreno Valley, and Palm Desert. Over the span of four consecutive days, task force officers placed decoy advertisements on popular classified advertisement websites 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. Concurrently, other task force officers negotiated agreed upon acts of prostitution based upon other escort advertisements that were posted online in the area. In these instances, females who responded to the undercover officers posing as customers were directed to meet, at which point they too were arrested.
Arrested during the operation for solicitation of prostitution were:
City of Residence:
Las Vegas, NV
March Air Reserve Base
Las Vegas, NV
Diaz De Leon Garza
In addition to the above-listed arrests for solicitation of prostitution, an additional suspect, identified as James Lewis, was arrested for supervising/aiding a person to commit prostitution. Lewis is a 23-year-old resident of Oakland.
During the four-day operation, task force officers made contact with an adult female believed to be a victim of sex trafficking. The initial investigation led investigators to believe this subject was being forced to engage in acts of prostitution against her will. The identity of this victim will not be released pursuant to state confidentiality laws. This victim was referred to victim services for assistance as the investigation into her sex trafficking continues.
All subjects arrested during this operation were transported to the detention center in closest proximity to the operational area(s) each day. During this multi-day operation, bookings occurred at the Indio Jail, the Cois M. Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta, and the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside. Following booking, each arrestee was ultimately released upon their written promise to later appear in court.
The RCAHT Task Force extends its sincere appreciation to the Temecula Sheriff’s Station, Moreno Valley Sheriff’s Station, Palm Desert Sheriff’s Station, Corona Police Department, and Hemet Police Department for their support in conducting these joint operations. Without the commitment of personnel and resources from each of these participating agencies, these operations would not have been met with the same level of success.
Prostitution is not a “victimless” crime. Ninety-five percent of sex trafficking victims are women or children. Those victimized by 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 who are most vulnerable. Through proactive enforcement operations such as Reclaim and Rebuild, RCAHT works to reduce future demand for sex trafficking by identifying and arresting sex buyers.
Anyone with questions about this operation can contact Sergeant John Sawyer of the RCAHT Task Force at (951) 955-1700, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.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 that 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, Rebirth Homes, and Million Kids. The law enforcement component of RCAHT is currently composed of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations, the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Riverside County Probation Department, along with part-time participation of the Hemet Police Department, Riverside Police Department, and Desert Hot Springs Police Department.
Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s CrimeTips online form.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department is seeking applicants for Deputy Sheriff, Deputy Sheriff Trainee, Correctional Deputy, Sheriff’s 911 Communications Officer, and other employment opportunities such as clerical and support positions. If you are interested in a career with us, please apply at www.joinrsd.org or call 1-888-Join-RSD