A girl younger than 14 years of age was rescued by law enforcement from sex trafficking.
The victim was rescued from a month-long ordeal in which she was forced to prostitute by her captor. Lathrop Police Services Chief Ryan Biedermann said her rescue was greatly aided by the Women’s Center of San Joaquin County in Stockton.
The rescue was part of a 10-hour dragnet in Lathrop from 4 p.m. Friday and into 2 a.m. Saturday led by the Lathrop Police Services. It involved 31 officers who made 19 arrests of men age 18 to 35 on a long list of charges including human trafficking to kidnapping and aiding with the prostitution of a female under 14 years of age.
A command post was set up at the old ITT building in Lathrop that served as the center for operations.
Two major arrests included Julian Romero, 24, charged with human trafficking and kidnapping is being held in the San Joaquin County Jail in lieu of $1,805,000. Charles Gallegos, 33, is being held in lieu of $215,000 bail and is charged with supervising and aiding in prostitution, conspiracy, being a felon possessing a firearm in a vehicle and being a felon in possession of ammunition.
Assisting in the net were 24 Sheriff’s deputies, three Manteca police detectives, four agents from the Alcohol Beverage Control, and two women victims’ representatives. Six vehicles were towed in the process. The operations saw six individuals arrested who were allegedly supervising the act of prostitution, one for pandering and one suspect for human trafficking and kidnapping violations, according to the Lathrop Chief.
“Rescuing one victim is worth an operation of this size,” Biedermann said.
In addition, one semi-automatic firearm was recovered that aided in the supervision of prostitution. One suspect was arrested for child endangerment and a child predator was arrested for arranging to meet an under 14-year-old female for sex, for communicating with a minor for sexual acts and attempting to have sex with a minor under 14 years.
Several others were arrested for prostitution related charges, the chief said.
The court appearances at the Manteca Branch of the San Joaquin County Superior Court are set for Tuesday, Nov. 20, at 1:25 p.m.
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