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Sex trafficking operation results in 38 arrests, four rescues in Riverside County

Operation Reclaim & Rebuild is 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. The operation 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 more than 100 law enforcement agencies statewide and resulted in 450 arrests and 39 victims rescued, including 13 children.

This year, Riverside County’s role in this operation ran four consecutive days before concluding on February 10. The Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RCAHT) officers and allied Riverside County law enforcement partners held operations in the cities of Lake Elsinore, La Quinta, Riverside, Palm Desert, San Jacinto, and Temecula.

The task force arrested 31 males and seven females for solicitation of prostitution including 4 adult victims rescued. Task force officers also made contact with two adult females believed to be victims of sex trafficking. Initial investigations led the task force to believe these subjects were being forced to engage in acts of prostitution against their will.

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. After their arrival and an interview, if the females were determined not to be victims of human trafficking, they too were arrested.

The following individuals were arrested during the operation:

Arrested during the operation for solicitation of prostitution and carrying a loaded firearm:

  • Austin Spargo, 25 of Murrieta

Arrested during the operation for solicitation for prostitution, possession of a controlled substance and paraphernalia:

  • Juan Lopez, 25 of Perris

Arrested during the operation for solicitation of prostitution:

  • Adrian Duro, 21 of Thermal
  • Antonio Adan Torres Molina, 29 of Indio
  • Courtney Burge, 44 of Lake Elsinore
  • Desiree Green, 27 of Hemet
  • Domitri Jones, 47 of Moreno Valley
  • Donneshia Chapple, 25 of Hemet
  • Duwayne Speas, 30 of Murrieta
  • Esteban Bernabe, 41 of Riverside
  • Christine Weigert, 25 of El Cajon
  • Christopher Shick, 30 of Hemet
  • Eddie Williams, 44 of Desert Hot Springs
  • Gary Koenig, 53 of Hemet
  • Giovani Pedro, 25 of Lake Elsinore
  • Jasmine Washington, 24 of Moreno Valley
  • Jerry Bejar, 29 of Long Beach
  • Jin Park, 21 of Eastvale
  • Jordan Saunders, 26 of San Jacinto
  • Jorge Paniagua, 21 of Hemet
  • Joseph Moskowitz, 29 of Hemet
  • Joshua Baker, 32 of Riverside
  • Justin Michael Steubs, 43 of Thousand Palms
  • Keith Docs, 46 of Vista
  • Keith Terranova, 42 of La Quinta
  • Kelli Roma, 40 of Cathedral City
  • Lorraine Cuevas, 31 of Moreno Valley (Not Pictured)
  • Marquez Arnold, 23 of Lake Elsinore
  • Michael Wilkins, 50 of Temecula
  • Nicole Sawdey, 38 of Indio
  • Nolan Padua, 35 of Murrieta
  • Richard Laryea, 27 of Sun City
  • Renee Barrera, 27 of San Jacinto
  • Roger Henri Lavigne, 71 of Indio
  • Stewart Smith, 33 of Menifee
  • Uchechi Lever, 24 of Beaumont
  • Wayne Hawkins, 60 of Lake Elsinore
  • Zaldana Parada, 48 of Moreno Valley

Suspects arrested during this operation were transported to the detention center in the closest proximity to the operational area(s) each day. Following booking, each arrestee was ultimately released upon their written promise to later appear in court, according to authorities.

The RCAHT Task Force was formed in 2010. The eastern RCAHT Task Force was formed in 2020. Both 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, Run 2 Rescue, and Million Kids.

The law enforcement component of the RCAHT Task Force 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, and the Riverside County Probation Department, along with part-time participation of the Hemet Police Department, Riverside Police Department, and Desert Hot Springs Police Department.

All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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