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Orange County District Attorney Press Release
For Immediate Release: July 15, 2013

EIGHT MEN CONVICTED AND SENTENCED FOR SOLICITING SEX FROM UNDERCOVER OFFICER IN SANTA ANA STING OPERATION



*Defendants were prosecuted by the Orange County District Attorney’s HEAT Unit

SANTA ANA – Eight men arrested in an undercover sting operation pleaded guilty and were sentenced today for soliciting sex or sex acts from an undercover police officer, whom they believed to be a prostitute. The convicted defendants include: Michael Davis, 36; Heladio Herrera, 21; Silvestre Jacob, 40; Paulino Martinez, 40; Tony Nguyen, 45; Luis Ortiz, 27; Francisco Rios, 33; and Herbert Yoneoka, 68. All of the defendants pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of soliciting another to engage in prostitution. Herrera, Jacob, and Martinez also pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of driving without a license.

Davis, Herrera, Jacob, Martinez, Nguyen, and Ortiz were each sentenced to three years of informal probation, 10 days in jail with the possibility of CalTrans in lieu of jail, and must submit to AIDS testing and education. Rios was sentenced to three years of informal probation, 15 days in jail with the possibility of CalTrans in lieu of jail, and must submit to AIDS testing and education. Yoneoka was sentenced to three years of informal probation, 10 days in jail with the possibility of community service in lieu of jail, and must submit to AIDS testing and education.

On the night of May 15, 2013, and in the early morning of May 16, 2013, the eight defendants were arrested in an undercover sting operation by officers from the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) for soliciting sex or sex acts from an undercover female officer, whom they believed to be a prostitute. The defendants approached the undercover officer on Harbor Boulevard in Santa Ana and solicited sex in exchange for money.

The area of Harbor Boulevard is known to law enforcement to be a high-prostitution area frequently used by individuals who sexually exploit and traffic women and underage girls for financial gain, including pimps, panderers, and human traffickers.

This case was prosecuted by the Orange County District Attorney’s Human Exploitation And Trafficking (HEAT) Unit, which targets perpetrators who sexually exploit and traffic women and underage girls for financial gain, including pimps, panderers, and human traffickers. Commercial sex trafficking is the second most lucrative criminal enterprise behind narcotics trafficking. Often the perpetrators are gang members and/or career criminals.

The HEAT Unit also targets defendants who create a demand for prostitution by soliciting and/or purchasing sex and engaging in the commercial sex trade, which increases the commercial sexual exploitation of women and children. The HEAT Unit uses a tactical plan called PERP: Prosecution of human trafficking perpetrators and sex purchasers; Education for law enforcement to properly handle human trafficking and pandering cases; Resources to raise public awareness and provide assistance to the victims; and Publicity to inform the community about the problem and notify human traffickers and sex purchasers that this crime cannot be perpetrated without suffering severe consequences.

The OCDA will publicize the names of defendants convicted of sexually exploiting women or children by soliciting sex acts.

This case was investigated by SAPD and Deputy District Attorney Michael Bardeen of the HEAT Unit prosecuted this case.

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Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701

Contacts:

Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
Office: 714-347-8408
Cell: 714-292-2718

Farrah Emami
Spokesperson
Office: 714-347-8405
Cell: 714-323-4486

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

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