San Jose – Leader Of Bay Area Sex Trafficking Ring Trolled Internet For Underage Victims

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — The leader of a sex trafficking ring in Santa Clara County, who recruited minors through social media, has pleaded guilty to several counts in federal court and faces decades in prison, prosecutors announced Wednesday.

U.S. Attorney David Anderson and FBI Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett issued a joint statement announcing the court decision in a case involving Ariel Guizar-Cuellar.

The 38-year-old San Jose man has admitted that from approximately September of 2014 until approximately January of 2016, he and various co-conspirators operated an unlawful commercial sex venture in San Jose and Santa Clara that sold the sexual services of adult women and at least three minor girls.

Federal prosecutors said Guizar-Cuellar was the leader, primary facilitator, enforcer and main financial beneficiary of the unlawful commercial sex venture.

He recruited the minors through social media networks, prosecutors said, taking pictures of them and causing those pictures to be posted in online advertisements for their sexual services on “”

Guizar-Cuellar transported the minors to various hotels and motels in the Bay Area to facilitate their prostitution dates with adult customers. He provided condoms for the minors to use during their prostitution dates and collected money from the minors after their dates.

He also admitted that he made a recording of one of the minors engaging in sexual activity during a prostitution date in Sunnyvale and gave methamphetamine to some of the minors to entice them to continue working for him. He specifically told the minors to conceal their true ages.

Guizar-Cuellar pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of children; three counts of sex trafficking of children and one count of sexual exploitation of children. Guizar-Cuellar pleaded guilty to all counts charged in the indictment.

He is currently in federal custody awaiting sentencing on October 22, 2019.

The maximum statutory penalty for each count of sex trafficking minors is life in prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years. The maximum statutory penalty for child exploitation is 30 years, with a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison.

Watsonville – Man Arrested for Human Trafficking of Gilroy Woman

A 32-year-old Watsonville man was arrested last week on suspicion of sex trafficking and physically abusing a female victim for over five years, the Santa Clara County sheriff’s office reported.

Andre William Furtado was arrested Thursday in Gilroy. He faces multiple felonies for human trafficking, pimping, pandering and kidnapping.

Furtado was on probation at the time of his arrest and is a registered sex offender, according to sheriff’s officials.

Sheriff’s deputies did not provide an age for the victim, but said she is a young Gilroy woman who began dating Furtado in 2014. He allegedly persuaded her into prostitution, and taught her how to meet and collect money from customers.

After she had been engaging in prostitution for about a month, Furtado allegedly began abusing the victim and accusing her of enjoying the prostitution. He assaulted her shortly before he was arrested, and the victim showed investigators multiple scratches on her body, as well as bruising.

She also provided sheriff’s deputies with numerous photos of physical abuse she endured over the years, and detectives heard Furtado apparently admit to the abuse and apologize in a phone call with the victim.

Sheriff’s officials ultimately learned about the abuse after Furtado allegedly threatened to hurt the victim and her father, and the case was reported to law enforcement.

Furtado is currently being held in the county jail without bail, and is due for a court appearance on Wednesday.

San Jose – ‘Courageous’ teen helps break up San Jose human trafficking operation

Police say 14-year-old was kidnapped in Chicago and forced to work as a prostitute in California

From left, Christopher Lyon Johnson, 39, of Sacramento; Antoine Williams, 43, of Merillville, Ind.; and Curtis Lee Russell, 59, of Natomas, Calif., were arrested on suspicion of human trafficking and other crimes in San Jose on Sunday, May 26, 2019. SJPD


SAN JOSE — Authorities are crediting a 14-year-old girl with helping break up a human trafficking operation in San Jose earlier this week.

On Sunday, the teen contacted the Crisis Text Line to report that she was being held against her will and forced to engage in prostitution, according to Sgt. Enrique Garcia.

Garcia said officers rushed to the 14-year-old’s location, a Motel 6 at 2560 Fontaine Road, and arrested three suspects: Christopher Lyon Johnson, 39, of Sacramento; Antoine Williams, 43, of Merrillville, Ind.; and Curtis Lee Russell, 59, of Natomas.

In addition to the teen, officers rescued a pair of women from California, ages 20 and 23, according to Garcia.

“It was courageous for the 14-year-old to do what she did,” he said.

Launched in the United States in 2013, the Crisis Text Line — 741741 — connects people in crisis with counselors whose ultimate goal is to help the texter come up with a plan to stay safe. The 24/7 service is now available in other countries including Canada and the United Kingdom.

A preliminary investigation revealed that the teen was reported as a missing runaway from Flint, Michigan, on Sept. 1, 2018. She went to Chicago, where she was kidnapped a few days later and taken to Gary, Indiana. Eventually, she was taken to various cities throughout California where she was forced to work as a prostitute, according to Garcia.

Johnson and Williams were booked into Santa Clara County jail on felony charges of human trafficking, pimping and pandering, and kidnapping. Russell was booked on felony charges of human trafficking and pimping. All three are being held without bail.
Garcia said detectives believe the suspects might have forced other women to engage in prostitution.

“We take these cases extremely seriously and we’re going to allocate the resources necessary to solve them,” he said.

Anyone with information related to the case can contact Detective Gurbaksh Sohal or Detective Sgt. Tony Ruelas at 408-277-4102 or email

Those wishing to remain anonymous can leave a tip with Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at 408-947-STOP (7867) or Tipsters may be eligible for a cash reward.

Martinez – Concord: Man pleads guilty to human trafficking charge, gets four years in prison

He was arrested outside a Concord hotel

MARTINEZ — A man pleaded guilty to a prostitution-related charge and is expected to be sentenced on Wednesday to four years in state prison, according to the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office.

Lawrence Taylor was arrested in March 2018 as part of a human trafficking sting conducted by the FBI, Concord Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office. The operation targeted dating websites where prostitution advertisements are posted.

Police apprehended Taylor after he drove a woman to a Concord hotel to meet with what turned out to be an undercover police officer. Authorities seized Taylor’s cell phone and found evidence he had encouraged the woman to work as a prostitute and post ads online, including the one that led them to the undercover sting.

Taylor, who was on parole for armed robbery, pleaded guilty to pandering on April 24. Along with four years in state prison, a criminal protective order will be issued barring Taylor from contacting the woman for 10 years. The woman was not arrested. Police connected her with a human trafficking advocate from the District Attorney’s Office.

“Collaborative enforcement operations such as these are key to identifying exploiters in our community, holding them accountable for their crimes, and giving victims an opportunity to connect to services and support,” said Dana Filkowski, a human trafficking unit supervisor in the DA’s office.

San Rafael – Man Arrested On Suspicion Of Human Trafficking

A San Rafael police corporal with expertise in human trafficking arrested a man last week on suspicion of that crime after she found a teenage girl passed out in the back seat of a vehicle during a traffic stop, police said Wednesday.

Cpl. Lilah Gavlick was on patrol around 2:30 a.m. Friday in the 700 block of Francisco Boulevard East when she noticed a silver Mercedes-Benz driving through the parking lot of a motel without a front license plate as required by state law.

The corporal pulled over the vehicle in the area of Bellam Boulevard and the on-ramp to eastbound Interstate Highway 580 and saw three males in the car along with a female in the backseat who appeared to be passed out and unresponsive with a short dress and no shoes on, police said.

Gavlick, who routinely represents the city to discuss human trafficking, eventually was able to communicate with the female, who identified herself as a 17-year-old girl from Modesto, according to police.

The corporal became concerned that the girl could be a victim of human trafficking and talked to the vehicle’s driver, Jayvon Gunn, who allegedly made admissions that led Gavlick to believe he was possibly trafficking the girl.

Gunn was eventually arrested on suspicion of human trafficking and pimping, and the 17-year-old was interviewed and released to a family member.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call San Rafael police at (415) 485-3000.

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Sacramento – Plea deal struck in alleged human trafficking case

A Sacramento man arrested in San Bruno for working with his girlfriend to convince a 17-year-old girl to work as a prostitute in late 2017 and early 2018 pleaded no contest to felony witness dissuasion and was sentenced Monday to 16 months in state prison, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.

Having received 508 days credit for time served, 27-year-old Taroy Ireland was out of custody on parole Monday after the plea deal was struck, less than a month after 27-year-old Ieshealucetia Lewis pleaded no contest to accessory to pimping and was sentenced 468 days county jail with 468 days credit for time served, according to prosecutors.

Walnut Creek – How a woman’s secret note to an East Bay cop led to arrests on human trafficking, domestic violence

WALNUT CREEK — When a Walnut Creek policeman responded to a 911 hangup call last November, the driver of a parked car explained the call away; he told the officer his ex-girlfriend had been following him, trying to start an altercation, so he called the police.

In the backseat was a young woman “crying hysterically,” according to the officer’s report. She was unable to speak, but slyly typed a two-word message on her phone and turned her screen toward the officer. Her message read, “He’s lying.”

By the end of the police investigation, the driver, 22-year-old Amani Dupre Jackson, had been charged with human trafficking, assault and domestic violence. By February, he and two women had been charged in an alleged criminal conspiracy to convince the victim not to testify, and to delete evidence off Jackson’s phone.

Police describe Jackson as a member of the Del Paso Heights Bloods, a subset of the Bloods criminal gang based in Sacramento. Jackson has pleaded not guilty and his trial has been set for mid-April, according to court records.

Court records describe Jackson’s November arrest in Walnut Creek, saying officers were first called to a parking lot near the corner of Arroyo Way and Civic Drive after an “unidentified female” called 911 and hung up. All the dispatcher could hear was a woman crying and a man asking where his phone was.

After reading the woman’s message to him, the officer — listed in court records only as “Officer Clemente” — separated Jackson and the woman, and interviewed her. She told police Jackson had punched her in the head and choked her for 10 seconds.

Jackson denied all this when questioned by police, saying it was another woman — a family member — who had fought with the alleged victim, and that he was trying to break it up. He said he called 911 and was more or less acting as a peacemaker.

In a subsequent interview, the woman told police that Jackson had spent two years in prison, and before that was “pimping her out,” according to an officer’s statement. She said he would drive her to San Francisco, or Oakland, drop her off at street corners with a box of condoms, and tell her not to call for a ride until all the condoms were gone.

She usually made around $1,000 to $1,500 a night, and Jackson would have sex with her if she met her quota, the woman reportedly told police. She said the argument that led to the fight in Walnut Creek happened because she had refused to go to the San Pablo/Richmond area and perform “tricks,” or sex acts for money.

But the story doesn’t quite end there. In February, a grand jury indicted two women — Channel Jackson and Essence Littlepage — on charges of conspiracy and dissuading a witness, for allegedly plotting with Jackson to get the victim to change her statement. In phone calls from county jail, Jackson reportedly also told them to delete evidence from his phone and other electronic devices.

Los Altos – Suspect arrested for possession of child pornography

The Los Altos Police Department, with the assistance of the Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children (SVICAC) Task Force and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, has arrested Los Altos resident Jeffrey Rowland for possession of child pornography.

In January 2019, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) provided multiple CyberTip reports to the Los Altos Police Department regarding the suspected possession of harmful matter, specifically child pornography.

A follow-up investigation conducted by the Mountain View Police Department and the Los Altos Police Department revealed that the suspect was a Los Altos resident.

On February 27, 2019, the Los Altos Police Department, with the assistance of the Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children (SVICAC) Task Force and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, executed a search warrant at Jeffrey Rowland’s residence in Los Altos. Child pornography was located and seized. Suspect Jeffrey Rowland was arrested and booked into the Santa Clara County Jail without incident for the listed charge.

Individuals with information pertaining to this investigation are asked to contact Detective Sergeant Brian Jeffrey of the Los Altos Police Department Investigative Services Division at (650) 947-2770. Individuals wishing to remain anonymous may call the Los Altos Police Department Tip-Line at (650) 947-2774.

REDWOOD CITY, CA – Man Accused Of Lewd Acts On Young Girl In Car In SMC: Cops

San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputies said they believe the man was trying to flee to Mexico before being apprehended for assaulting a girl.

REDWOOD CITY, CA — A Richmond man was arrested Thursday on suspicion of committing lewd acts with a child under age 14 while inside his vehicle, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday.

Victor Alfonso Paredes-Castro, 34, was taken into custody in connection to an assault that happened on Feb. 23 and involved a family member of his girlfriend, according to the sheriff’s office. The incident occurred in an unincorporated part of San Mateo County, near Redwood City, officials said.

“The victim reported the incident immediately after it occurred, however the suspect fled the scene before deputies arrived,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

Officials say they caught up with the suspect at his Richmond home on Thursday — just as he may have been headed out of town.

“Detectives believed Paredes-Castro was preparing to flee to Mexico before being apprehended,” the news release stated.

The sheriff’s department believes there are more potential victims and encourage anyone who had any contact or association with Paredes-Castro to contact Detective Jerri Cosens 650-363-4347 or Detective Sergeant Joe Cang at 650-363-4008.

Burbank Man Charged In Oak Lawn Child Luring Incidents

Oak Lawn police have arrested a Burbank man accused of trying to lure two teens to his car on Feb. 22.

OAK LAWN, IL — A self-employed sales vendor from Burbank has been arrested after police said he tried to lure two Oak Lawn girls to his car last Friday. Safwat Mohammad, 43, appeared before Cook County Judge John J. Mahoney on a felony count of child abduction and child luring, as well as misdemeanor disorderly conduct. During Mohammad’s bond hearing on Tuesday, he was also served with an order of protection for an unrelated civil matter.

Police said that a man later identified as Mohammad approached two girls, ages 14 and 15, moments apart as they walked home after school on Feb. 22. Both teens were students at Oak Lawn Community High School. There was no physical contact and, in both instances, adults happened upon the scene and scared the man away.

Around 3:40 p.m., the 14-year-old was walking home in the 5300 block of West 91st Place, when she noticed a man following her down the street in a Cadillac Deville. When the teen turned the corner, the car also turned and continued to follow the girl. The prosecutor said Mohammad pulled alongside the teen and rolled down his window. Mohammad allegedly began speaking to the girl — asking her name, saying she was pretty and that he wanted to get to know her better.

Man Sought In Two Attempted Child Luring Incidents In Oak Lawn

A woman on her way to pick up her son noticed the Caddy following the girl. Sensing something was not right, the prosecutor said the woman pulled up next to the teen and asked her if she was okay. When the girl responded that she was not the woman told Mohammad to leave, the prosecutor said. After making sure Mohammad left the area and that the teen was okay, she went to pick up her son. The girl met up with a friend, and they walked the rest of the way home.

Moments earlier, police said Mohammad approached a 15-year-old girl who was walking in the 9500 block of S. Marion Ave. and used the same modus operandi. When the teen turned up her driveway, police said the girl’s mother came out and Mohammad fled the area.

Using surveillance video from neighborhood home security cameras, police were able to enlarge one of the images to get a license plate number. The plate number came back as being registered to Mohammad, police said. Officers arrested Mohammad on Sunday at his home, according to the charges. He has no prior criminal background.

The 14-year-old was able to identify Mohammad, and he was charged with felony child abduction and child luring, police said. The other teen was unable to identify Mohammad as the man who approached her, so he was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

The assistant public defender told the judge that Mohammad is a self-employed sales vendor. He lives with his girlfriend in Burbank. He said he could post $100 bond. During the bond hearing, authorities also learned that another woman had filed for a civil order of protection against Mohammad, but it had not yet been served. The judge set bail at $250,000.

“I find you to be a danger,” Mahoney said.

Mohammad later returned to the courtroom where he was served with the order of protection issued Feb.19 from a Chicago woman. He was told to refrain from physical abuse, stalking, intimidation and communicating by phone, email or text; and he was asked to cease from online exploitation. He is also to stay away from the woman’s home and workplace.

Mohammad’s next court date is March 25 in Bridgeview. As Mohammed was being led out of the courtroom, he turned around and mouthed to a man and woman sitting in the gallery, “get my bond.”