A family trying to get their missing 14-year-old back led Salinas police to uncover a sex-trafficking ring, authorities say.
Salinas police said Thursday they’ve arrested four men in connection to a human-trafficking ring that operated in Monterey County as well as the South Bay.
Daniel Amaro, 20, of Soledad, and Abriam Ibarra, 24, of Salinas, face charges of sex trafficking. Ibarra also faces charges of having sex with minors, police said in a press release.
Amaro and Ibarra allegedly forced more than eight youths into prostitution online and in the streets. They supplied the teen girls with alcohol and drugs while controlling what and when they ate, police said.
The pair also confiscated the money paid to the girls, police said.
Police say the two men also took the teens to other areas for sex, including a mall in San Jose.
Officers discovered the sex trafficking after responding to reports of a disturbance in the 200 block of Kern St. Feb. 4. Upon arriving, officers learned that the family of a missing 14-year-old had found her and were trying to get her to come with them, police said.
They also determined the teen had been a victim of human trafficking, leading to them uncovering Ibarra and Amaro’s roles in trafficking at least seven other girls ages 14-to-18, officers said.
After officers learned the pair had made at least one of the teens walk a mall in San Jose looking for “Johns,” the San Jose Police Department became involved. The investigation led officers to Amaro, who was arrested during a traffic stop at about 4:30 p.m. Feb. 9 in Ceres by police there.
On Sunday, officers then arrested Ibarra at a parking lot in the 1800 block of North Main Street, police said.
In both cases, they were accompanied by underage girls, police said.
Two men were also arrested on suspicion of having sex with minors in connection to the investigation, police said.
The men were taken to the Monterey County Jail, police said. Officers credited the collaboration between the Salinas, San Jose and Ceres police departments, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and help from the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office with breaking up the alleged sex trafficking ring.
Police anticipate additional arrests and are asking anyone with information to call the Salinas Police Department Anonymous Tip Line at 831-775-4222, or the We-Tip Line at 1-800-78-CRIME.