Two undercover operations to fight human trafficking resulted in arrests and the rescue of two victims who were sold for sex on the “dark web,” the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday.
The undercover operations, named “Operation Second Chance,” were conducted Saturday in partnership with investigators from several area law enforcement agencies.
“During this operation, detectives set up fictitious advertisements on known prostitution sites and searched the dark web for potential human trafficking victims,” the sheriff’s office said. “Nearly 40 men contacted our decoy.”
Francisco Cruz Raygoza of Visalia was arrested on suspicion of pimping. Rodridgo Baez Solis and Joan Ramos of Porterville, and Christopher Rodarte of Visalia, were arrested on suspicion of soliciting the undercover officers posing as prostitutes. Rodarte was identified as a medical doctor in Visalia.
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“Detectives also tried to find and rescue human trafficking victims on the dark web,” the sheriff’s office said. “Detectives managed to rescue two adult females, one of which was believed to be a human trafficking victim who through force, fear and/or coercion was trafficked for sex. Personnel with Tulare County Family Services responded to the scene and provided the victims with help.”
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information about human trafficking or victims seeking help is asked to contact the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office at 559-733-6218, or they can remain anonymous by calling or texting 559-725-4194, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-539-2373, or text 233-733, the “Be Free” hotline.
The undercover operations were conducted by investigators with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, Visalia Police Department, Tulare County Human Trafficking Task Force, and the Madera County Sheriff’s Office.