Saturday 18 May 2024

Mexican National Arrested After Teenage Girl He Allegedly Trafficked Into U.S. Texted Hints To 911

 Authorities in Ventura County, California, were tipped off last week to a suspected sex trafficker and rapist when a 17-year-old girl who was allegedly smuggled into the U.S. by the Mexican national texted 911 from the house she was being held in.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said on Thursday that “In the early morning hours of May 9th, deputies working the Ojai Sheriff’s Sub-Station rescued a female human trafficking victim who had text[ed] ‘911’ to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Communication Center.”

The young girl doesn’t speak English and could only provide details about the landmarks surrounding the house, but officers translated the texts into English and pieced together the clues given by the 17-year-old. Despite the limited information, deputies found the victim in just 20 minutes.

“Simultaneously as the call taker was engaging with the victim, other members of the communications center team were successful in giving real time information to deputies responding to the search. After about twenty minutes of searching the area of Casitas Springs, the victim was found by deputies,” the sheriff’s office added.

After she was rescued, the girl gave more information to deputies, which helped them identify and track down the suspect, Gerardo Cruz. The suspect was arrested and booked on multiple charges, including Human Trafficking, Forcible Rape, Lewd Acts Upon a Child, Luring, and Sexual Penetration with Force, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said. Cruz’s bail was set at $500,000.

Following a preliminary investigation, authorities said that the teenage victim was trafficked into California from Mexico around two months ago. The southern border crisis that has exploded under President Joe Biden has opened the door for human traffickers to take advantage of loose U.S. laws to boost their exploitative enterprise.

Authorities encouraged people to contact law enforcement immediately if they know a human trafficking victim or suspect that someone is running a human trafficking operation.


“Human trafficking affects all of us. Thousands of people are trafficked each year into the United States and forced into sex and labor markets,” the sheriff’s office said. “Most victims are forced into mounting debt and quarantined from contact with family and friends.”

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