A 20-year-old man was arrested Friday on suspicion of human trafficking and pandering after a vehicle stop on Highway 1 in Morro Bay, according to the Santa Barbara Police Department.
Patrick Boughton was arrested after an 18-year-old woman from Nebraska reportedly called her mother about 11:30 a.m. Friday saying she was being held against her will and forced into prostitution at a motel on upper State Street in Santa Barbara. Police went to the motel but found that three people, including one matching the 18-year-old’s description, checked out an hour earlier.
Department officials coordinated with San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department officials, who stopped a newer white Cadillac with Oklahoma license plates in Morro Bay. Boughton, the 18-year-old woman and another woman were in the car, police said.
Detectives alleged that Boughton used threats, coercion, and physical abuse to force the 18-year-old woman to engage in prostitution and prevent her from fleeing.
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Detectives are investigating the trio's recent travels and the relationship of the second woman to the criminal allegations.
Boughton’s bail has been set at $100,000, according to Santa Barbara Police. His photo and additional information is not being released pending further investigation, said Lt. Paul McCaffrey, a Santa Barbara Police department spokesman.