SAN LUIS OBISPO — Today, Mar. 15, District Attorney Dan Dow announced that a San Luis Obispo County jury has returned a unanimous guilty verdict convicting Lucion Lee Edward Banks (37) of human trafficking a 14-year-old female victim in 2018.
According to Dow, after pulling Banks over during a traffic stop on Oct. 5, 2018, it became clear to San Luis Obispo Police Department Officer Quenten Rouse that Banks was involved in the trafficking of a 14-year-old girl for commercial sexual exploitation and that he did so by using force, fear, fraud, deceit, coercion, violence, duress, menace, or threat of unlawful injury.
Following volumes of evidence and testimony during the 12-day jury trial, the San Luis Obispo County Jury returned a guilty verdict after several hours of deliberation.
The trafficking survivor Jane Doe said she was very pleased with the jury verdict: “I am happy for myself, and I feel successful.” We are pleased to report that Ms. Doe is doing very well in school and plans to be a beautician in the future.
“Ms. Doe’s bravery and resilience demonstrated strength and grace as she testified during this trial,” said Deputy District Attorney Christopher B. White. “I am deeply grateful that so many wonderful people worked so hard to bring justice for our juvenile trafficking survivor.”
The Honorable Judge Barry T. LaBarbera presided over the jury trial. Mr. Banks remains in custody at the County Jail with bail set at $1 million. He is due back in Court on Apr. 9, for sentencing. The charge and enhancement carry a maximum sentence of 15-years-to-life in state prison.
“We are grateful for the jury that came in to serve during this pandemic,” said District Attorney Dan Dow. “This just verdict was a result of a lot of hard work and collaboration of our San Luis Obispo County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force that we started in late 2014.”
In addition to local law enforcement witnesses, an expert witness from the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, Inspector Tim Bergquist, testified on the subject of human trafficking, explaining the dynamics and sub-culture of human trafficking to the jury. Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley has been a California state-wide leader on combating trafficking and created HEAT Watch several years ago.
The District Attorney’s Office gives recognition and thanks to our partners who assisted in this case over the past two years: San Luis Obispo Police Department, San Luis Obispo County Department of Social Services, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Family Care Network, Alameda County District Attorney’s Office Inspector Division, San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Bureau of Investigation, Christopher G. Money Victim Witness Assistance Center, and our Child Abuse Interview Team (CAIT).
View a copy of the Amended Information.
This case was investigated by the San Luis Obispo Police Department with the assistance of the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation and was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Christopher B. White.
Please contact Chief Deputy District Attorney Jerret Gran at (805)781-5800 with any questions.
If you or someone you know is being forced to engage in any activity and cannot leave – whether it is commercial sex, housework, farm work, construction, factory, retail or restaurant work, or any other activity call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at: 1-888-373-7888 or Text 233733 (BE FREE).
Locally you may contact: Crime Stoppers at (805)549-STOP; text “SLOTIPS” plus your message to CRIMES (274637). You can also call the District Attorney Victim Witness Assistance Center at (805)781-5821 or toll-free (866)781-5821.
Also, please visit our website https://www.slocounty.ca.gov/Departments/District-Attorney/Victim-Witness-Assistance-Center/Human-Trafficking.aspx for more information on the Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce and the resources available.