Photo: James Powell
Ventura County – When the report of a 14-year-old female runaway from the Sacramento area suspected of being in Camarillo was received by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department Special Crimes Unit on March 20th, deputies began an immediate search of every hotel and motel in the Camarillo area.
According to VCSD spokesman Sgt. Jason Hendren, it didn’t take deputies long to locate the 14-year-old, “along with a 17-year-old female and a 22-year-old female” in the room of a local hotel.
At that point a full scale investigation was initiated by the Special Crimes Unit and the Major Crimes Unit which led to the conclusion that all three females were “being sexually exploited and were the victims of human trafficking.”
With another two victims of the same trafficking enterprise—one located in the Sacramento area—coming to their attention as a result of the investigation, detectives ultimately tracked the principal suspect in the operation, 31-year-old Sacramento resident James Powell, to a Manhattan Beach hotel as he was checking into his room in the company of a 20-year-old female.
At approximately 8:00 p.m. on March 21st, Powell was contacted by deputies and taken into custody at the hotel. He was then transported to Ventura County Jail where he was booked on two felony counts of “causing, inducing, or persuading a minor to engage in a commercial sex act,” along with two felony counts of human trafficking, with his bail set at $510,000.
Photo: Courtesy Ventura County Jail Booking