RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. — The Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RCAHT), along with law enforcement agencies throughout southwest Riverside County, announced today that this year’s Operation Reclaim and Rebuild, an annual multi-agency statewide initiative that focuses on rescuing victims of sexual slavery and human trafficking, resulted in the arrest of more than 60 individuals.
Operation Reclaim & Rebuild, which is timed to coincide with National Human Trafficking Awareness Month and serves as a reminder that human trafficking will not be tolerated in California, is dedicated to identifying and arresting their captors, while disrupting demand for these vulnerable victims, according to officials.
During this year’s operation, which ran for four consecutive days before concluding on Jan. 28, participating agencies made sixty-four arrests, Riverside Sheriff Sergeants Jose Tijerina and Robert Menchaca said after the successful operation’s conclusion.
For this year’s operation, RCAHT task force members and their allied Riverside County law enforcement partners held operations in the cities of Lake Elsinore, La Quinta, Murrieta, Riverside, Palm Desert and Temecula.
Last year’s “Operation Reclaim & Rebuild” included participation from over 70 law enforcement agencies statewide and resulted in 76 adult and 11 minor victims being recovered; 266 males arrested for the charge of Solicitation, and 27 suspected traffickers and exploiters arrested, said Tijerina and Menchaca; adding that in total, 518 arrests were made during last year’s statewide operation.
This year’s statewide details and total number of arrests made were not available as of this report.
During this year’s nearly week-long proactive enforcement operation, RCAHT partnered with the La Quinta Special Enforcement Team, Palm Desert Special Enforcement Team, Lake Elsinore Special Enforcement Team, Temecula Special Enforcement Team, Riverside Police Department, and Murrieta Police Department to target 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, according to officials.
“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,” said Tijerina and Menchaca.
During this year’s four-day operation in Riverside County, Task Force members and participating agencies arrested 61 men and one woman for solicitation of prostitution. Additionally one man was arrested for soliciting a minor for lewd purposes, while another man was arrested for supervising/aiding a person to commit prostitution, said Tijerina and Menchaca.
RCAHT Task Force members also made contact with two women believed to be victims of sex trafficking and their investigations led the task force to believe these subjects were being forced to engage in acts of prostitution against their will.
The identity of these victims, who were referred to victim services for assistance, were not released, pursuant to state confidentiality laws.
During the operation, RCAHT Task Force members and participating Riverside County law enforcement agencies placed decoy advertisements on popular classified advertisement websites that are commonly used for the solicitation of prostitution.
The Task Force members and participating agencies then responded to prospective customers who replied to these advertisements, according to Tijerina and Menchaca.
“Once an agreement for prostitution was brokered, the customers were arrested upon their arrival at a pre-determined meeting location,” the Sergeants described. “Concurrently, other task force members negotiated agreed upon acts of prostitution based upon other escort advertisements that were posted online in the area.”
During the operation, Issac Mciver, 26, of Lakewood, was arrested for soliciting a minor for lewd acts, while Corey Wiggins, 20, of Moreno Valley, was arrested for supervising/aiding a person to commit prostitution.
Additionally, those arrested for solicitation of prostitution included:
- Audon Aguilera-Cortez, 26 of Riverside (Not Pictured)
- Ian Alexander, 51 of Long Beach
- Gabriel Alvarez, 28 of Coachella
- Ethan Andrews, 29 of Menifee
- Daniel Arriaga-Diaz, 27 of Ontario (Not Pictured)
- Douglas Ayala, 43 of Twentynine Palms
- Matthew Babb, 26 of Bishop (Not Pictured)
- Monte Bertoldo, 53 of Palm Springs
- Kivanc Bilgin, 36 of Murrieta
- Scott Borel, 42 of Murrieta
- Anousack Bounyadeth, 47 of Menifee
- Rutilio Brito, 33 of La Quinta
- Eduardo Calderon, 32 of Los Angeles
- Sergio Castaneda, 37 of San Bernardino
- Wilson Chen, 33 of Lake Elsinore
- Dak Chim, 37 of Rosemead
- Rodolfo Cortez, 37 of Riverside
- Anthony Dagnenica, 52 of Menifee
- Andrew Diaz, 23 of Lake Elsinore
- Michael Eder, 45 of Murrieta
- Margarito Escobar-Orozco, 34 of Lake Elsinore
- Bryan Gaboury, 45 of Chino
- Armando Gatewood, 32 of Murrieta
- Anthony Gonzales, 43 of Chino
- John Hald, 50 of Hesperia
- Donovan Heard, 42 of Huntington Park (Not Pictured)
- Stefan Hyatt, 34 of Apple Valley
- Robert Johnson, 72 of Winchester
- Nathan Keys, 23 of Bellflower (Not Pictured)
- Gari Leal-Vallejo, 35 of Menifee
- Alberto Leon-Lopez, 26 of Vista
- Florencio Lopez, 50 of Thermal
- Randall Lopez, 65 of Azusa
- Roberto Lopez, 47 of Bermuda Dunes
- Rodrigo Macias-Leal, 21 of Cathedral City
- Quincey Morton, 41 of Los Angeles
- Hai Nguyen, 50 of Mission Viejo
- Wesley Orta-Marcano, 26 of Menifee
- Daniel Martin, 42 of Murrieta
- Ricardo Pachuca, 23 of Indio
- Justin Parish, 46 of Murrieta
- Juan Poblano-Martinez, 48 of Thermal
- Goldsborough Purnell, 62 of Palm Springs
- Eliuth Ramirez, 22 of Thermal
- Enrique Ramirez, 23 of Thermal
- Travis Risner, 41 of Murrieta
- Lenard Rodriguez, 25 of Harbor City
- Guadalupe Rosales, 44 of Perris
- Adam Sambrano, 39 of Indio
- Francisco Scott, 38 of Coachella
- Marius Simmons, 47 of Temecula
- Anthony Smith, 26 of Palm Desert
- Kyle Smith, 26 of Palm Desert
- William Spicknall, 37 of Palm Desert
- Thomas Stanford, 42 of Indio
- Christopher Stiles, 26 of Moreno Valley
- Christopher Teague, 23 of Aguanga
- Geoffrey Torres, 53 of Lake Elsinore
- Mason Tubiolo, 27 of Temecula
- Manuel Vega, 44 of Thermal
- Gilbert Vita, 27 of La Habra (Not Pictured)
- Ivory Woodly, 21 of Lynwood (Not Pictured)
Prostitution is not a “victimless” crime, according to RCAHT; who said 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. “These 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,” according to RCAHT.
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 Eric Menchaca or Sergeant Jose Tijerina of the RCAHT Task Force at (951) 955-1700.