Nine arrested in SLO County during anti-trafficking operation

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

Amid a statewide anti-human trafficking operation last month, authorities arrested nine individuals in San Luis Obispo County for sex offenses.

Operation Reclaim and Rebuild took place Feb. 6 through Feb. 12, with more than 80 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and task forces participating. The efforts of the San Luis Obispo County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force led to the arrest of nine suspects over a three-day span and disrupted criminal trafficking networks, according to the SLO County District Attorney’s Office. 

Authorities arrested William Thomas Feland, 65; Luis Gonzalez, 44; and Robert Walls, Jr., 44, for contacting a 13-year-old minor with intent to commit a sexual offense. Joseph Ricardo Armas, 32; Alex Alejandro Lopez, 30; Neil James Miller, 35; and James Darren Wormley, 46, were arrested for solicitation of prostitution.

Officers also arrested two suspects for pimping. Their cases remain active investigations. 

“The demand for prostitution creates a lucrative cash market that traffickers fill with victims – many who are children – even in our beautiful community,” District Attorney Dan Dow said in a statement. “Our local anti-human trafficking enforcement operations are designed to reduce the demand for commercial sex that leads to exploitation of minors and adults every day in our community. A warning to those thinking about purchasing sex: please stop and consider that one million kids are trafficked for sex each year and you are making it more widespread.”

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