SANTA BARBARA COUNTY — Working with the support of a 2016 federal grant, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Special Investigations Bureau and its Criminal Investigations Bureau conducted a sophisticated and quite successful sting operation on August 10th that netted no less than eight men suspected of solicitation of prostitution.
According toe SBSD Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover, local law enforcement took this initiative pursuant to the recent increase in online advertisements offering sex for money that are suspected as driven by “victims of various types of abuse and/or human trafficking” and the local demand for women to engage in prostitution.
Prior to the sting operation, “investigators placed an online ad” offering “the availability of a female willing to engage in sexual acts for money.”
Response to the ad was apparently significant, with undercover cops taking phone calls and “negotiating a sexual act for an amount of money.” Once the price was agreed upon, a meeting location was determined at a Santa Maria hotel where the sex acts would be provided. When the customers arrived at the location, arrests quickly ensued with “all subjects cooperative when contacted” by the cops.
Five men were arrested and booked on charges of solicitation of prostitution, including Santa Maria residents Alexis Oliveros, 23, Samuel Fast, 27, Christopher Rogers, 24, Wayne Pong, 53, and Lompoc resident Walter Thomas, 69.
Also arrested and booked with the additional charges of solicitation of prostitution in exchange for cocaine, possession of cocaine for sale, transportation of cocaine, and conspiracy, were Paso Robles residents Braulio Cisneros-Chavez, 20, and Christian Rodriguez-Ibarra, 23.
Photos: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking