LANCASTER – Two men were arrested Wednesday in a sting operation to crack down on human trafficking in the Antelope Valley, authorities said.
The operation was conducted by the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, and was staged near a hotel on 20th Street West and Avenue J-8 in Lancaster, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
“In each case, undercover detectives answered online [notices that were] advertising women on the internet. The men were detained when they appeared to be delivering the women to the location, as requested by the undercover detectives,” the news release states.
Stacey Richards, 26, of Lancaster, was arrested on suspicion of human trafficking; and the juvenile female that Richards brought to the location was interviewed and detained on an unrelated warrant, according to the news release.
Deandre Arnold, 27, of Granada Hills, was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm, after detectives found a loaded pistol in the vehicle he was driving. The woman Arnold brought to the area was cited for an unrelated misdemeanor charge and released, according to the news release.
Richards is being held in lieu of $150,000 bail, while Arnold is being held on $35,000 bail.
The Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force serves the needs of “commercially exploited adults and minors victimized for the purpose of sex and labor,” according to the sheriff’s news release.
“The task force employs a regionalized strategy that crosses jurisdictional boundaries to identify and rescue victims while aggressively pursuing traffickers and buyers,” the news release states.
Since the Task Force was established in 2015, detectives have rescued 131 victims of trafficking, including 98 minors, and have arrested 354 people — 104 male sex buyers, 132 for human trafficking related offenses, 82 for Internet crimes against children and 36 for miscellaneous offenses, sheriff’s officials said.
Read more about the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force here.