What to do if you suspect human trafficking
A Sacramento man stopped by San Luis Obispo police last week while traveling with a teenage girl pleaded not guilty Thursday to human trafficking and pimping charges.
Lucion Lee Edward Banks, 35, was arraigned in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on two felony counts of human trafficking of a minor for a sex act and pimping of a minor under 16.
His attorney, Jim Royer, did not return a request for comment following the hearing.
Banks has been in County Jail custody since his arrest Friday, and he is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
A search of court records shows Banks has no criminal history in San Luis Obispo County. However, news reports from the Bay Area and a federal notice shows Banks has several past arrests in northern California.
According to a “wanted” notice from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Banks was arrested in 2011 for possessing stolen mail and aiding and abetting, though a Tribune search of a federal court database did not show records of a conviction.
A Bay City News Service article reported that Banks was one of three people arrested in Sausalito in August 2014 on suspicion of trying to cash stolen checks.
In May 2015, Banks allegedly fired a gun into an occupied Antioch home over a reported $300 debt from a car sale, according to The East Bay Times. Though he was initially arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, Contra Costa County prosecutors ultimately charged Banks with shooting into an occupied dwelling and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
According to the newspaper, an Antioch police officer told a reporter that Banks “has just got a propensity for violence.”
It is not clear whether Banks was convicted in those cases; court records from Contra Costa and Marin counties were not immediately available Thursday.
His most recent arrest occurred last Friday when an officer stopped a car in the 3000 block of Broad Street for vehicle code violations at about 1:40 a.m., according to a San Luis Obispo Police Department news release. Inside, the officer found Banks and a 14-year-old girl, police said.
Banks and the girl said they weren’t related and “had no clear story of why they were in San Luis Obispo,” police said. Banks was also allegedly driving with a suspended license and had a misdemeanor warrant out for his arrest.
A police investigation following Banks’ arrest revealed clothing, wigs, condoms and cell phone data that suggested he was trafficking and pimping the 14-year-old girl who was traveling with him.
The girl was turned over to San Luis Obispo County Child Welfare Services, police said. According to court records, a San Luis Obispo judge issued a protective order Thursday barring Banks from contacting the girl.
He is due back in court Oct. 23.