By JOSH FRIEDMAN
Law enforcement personnel recently rescued a missing 15-year-old girl from Nevada who was being sex trafficked in San Luis Obispo County.
Authorities also caught the girl’s alleged pimp, but then released him, citing a lack of probable cause.
On Jan. 26, the San Luis Obispo County Counter Human Trafficking Team, CHP officers and FBI agents were answering online sex ads as part of a statewide effort to curb sex trafficking. Detectives answered a sex ad in which the female appeared in her photographs to be under the age of 18, according to the SLO County Sheriff’s Office.
Detectives arranged a meeting with the female under the pretense it would be a “date.” The female arrived and investigators detained her. After significant investigation, detectives determined the female was a 15-year-old missing and at-risk girl from Nevada.
Investigators also identified a male suspect in the area who, based on his behavior, was possibly a trafficker of the girl, investigators said. The suspect realized he was being surveilled by law enforcement and attempted to flee, but officers located him.
Detectives determined the suspect was tied to the girl. But, probable cause for his arrest did not exist at the time, so they released him.
Over the course of a followup investigation, detectives obtained evidence showing the suspect was trafficking the 15-year-old girl. Law enforcement personnel will seek a warrant and a criminal complaint against the suspect, as well as any other possible suspects in the case.