Six Johns, Three Pimps Caught in Statewide Human Trafficking Sting
SANTA BARBARA COUNTY — On January 26th, in a sting operation identified as a joint task multi-jurisdictional task force involving no less than 30 law enforcement agencies as “Operation Reclaim and Rebuild,” 474 suspects were arrested and charged with a plethora of crimes related to human trafficking.
Of that number, six Santa Barbara area residents were caught in three individual sting operations conducted over a three-day period involving deputies from the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Bureau, the Santa Barbara Regional Crime Abatement Team, the Santa Barbara Human Trafficking Task Force, and Homeland Security Investigations personnel.
According to SBSD Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover, the sting operations involved investigators contacting online escort services and then negotiating “a sex act in exchange for money.”
When the subject prostitute arrived at “a local hotel room,” she was taken into custody and arrested for prostitution. Three such suspects were arrested and promptly “offered the services of a specially trained human trafficking advocate.”
Following the arrests of the females, 25-year-old Bakersfield resident Aaron Hoggard was found at one of the local area hotels out of which the females were operating, whereupon he was arrested and transported to Santa Barbara County Jail and booked on charges of pimping and pandering.
On the second day of the three-day sting operation, Las Vegas residents 45-year-old Anthony Syon and 28-year-old Aida Garcia-Perez were contacted and arrested on charges of pimping, pandering, and resisting arrest.
No less than six male “john” escort clients were subsequently contacted, resulting in the arrests of Martin Steinley, 20, Damien Pearson, 30, Eli Sheiman, 41, Sergio Torres, 22, Jose Aristondo Arreaga, 37, and 28-year-old Zachary Harrison, all residents of Santa Barbara and Isla Vista. The six men were transported to Santa Barbara County Jail, where they were booked on charges of solicitation of prostitution.
Photos: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking