A man arrested in Anaheim for trafficking a 15-year-old girl and two 19-year-old women was scheduled to make his first court appearance Tuesday, according to Orange County Jail records.
Thirty-five-year-old Ariel Guizar and female suspect Araceli Mendoza were arrested at an Anaheim hotel Thursday evening and booked into the Orange County Jail for suspicion of human trafficking of a minor and weapons violations, Anaheim Police Sgt. Daron Wyatt said.
The arrests capped an investigation begun by the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force Wednesday, when family members expressed concern that the 15-year-old was being trafficked in Anaheim, Wyatt said.
The Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force located the girl in Bellflower Thursday afternoon.
“During the police interview, she relayed horrific details about being the victim of human trafficking,” he said. “She identified at least two other young female victims, all three of whom were trafficked throughout Southern California by their captor. The trafficker used threats of violence and a handgun to keep the victims working for him.”
Officers located the suspect’s vehicle late Thursday evening parked at a hotel in Anaheim, Wyatt said. Authorities conducted surveillance and an operation to arrest Guizar and Mendoza.
Guizar is in the Men’s Central Jail, where online records indicate he has no bail pending Tuesday’s appearance. Mendoza reportedly was being held in lieu of $250,000 bail.
Salvation Army Victim Advocates were providing services to the victims and making arrangements for them to return to their home cities, Wyatt said.
The Orange County Regional Human Trafficking Task Force is a collaborative effort between the Anaheim, Irvine and Santa Ana police departments, the California Highway Patrol, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, he said.
—City News Service
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