Man arrested during Morro Bay traffic stop suspected of forcing teen into prostitution

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.

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.

--Nick Wilson