District Attorney proclaims Operation Reclaim and Rebuild a success
SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — District Attorney Dan Dow announced on Tuesday, Mar. 1, that Operation Reclaim and Rebuild was a success in San Luis Obispo County between Feb. 6 and Feb. 12.
San Luis Obispo County’s Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force enforcement effort resulted in disrupting criminal trafficking networks with the arrest of nine individuals in San Luis Obispo County over three days of enforcement operations.
This year marked the fourth year that the San Luis Obispo County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force has participated in the annual Operation Reclaim and Rebuild led by the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force. The statewide operation included more than 80 participating federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and task forces from across California focused on combatting human trafficking in Southern California.
San Luis Obispo County’s effort resulted in the following arrests and prosecutions:
Three individuals were arrested for contacting a 13-year-old minor with the intent to commit a sexual offense (California Penal Code § 288.3). They are due to be arraigned in Superior Court, Department 1, on Mar. 24.
- Williams Thomas Feland (DOB: 04/28/1956) (booking photo)
- Luis H. Gonzales (DOB: 08/19/1977) (booking photo)
- Robert M. Walls Jr. (DOB: 10/24/1977) (booking photo)
Four individuals were arrested for solicitation of prostitution (California Penal Code § 647(b)). They are due to be arraigned in Superior Court on Jun. 1.
- Joseph Ricardo Armas (DOB: 11/20/1989) (booking photo)
- Alex Alejandro Lopez (DOB: 10/24/1991) (booking photo)
- Neil James Miller (DOB: 03/05/1986) (booking photo unavailable)
- James Darren Wormley (DOB: 11/17/1975) (booking photo)
Two individuals were arrested for pimping (California Penal Code § 266h). These cases are active ongoing investigations.
“The demand for prostitution creates a lucrative cash market that traffickers fill with victims — many who are children — even in our beautiful community,” Dow said. “Our local anti-human trafficking enforcement operations are designed to reduce the demand for commercial sex that leads to exploitation of minors and adults every day in our community. A warning to those thinking about purchasing sex: please stop and consider that 1 million kids are trafficked for sex each year and you are making it more widespread.”
The San Luis Obispo County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force was formally established by Dow shortly after his election in 2014. This operation by the Task Force was directly aimed at disrupting networks of human trafficking for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation occurring on the Central Coast, identifying and assisting survivors of trafficking, and reducing the demand for trafficking and exploitation of minors by identifying and prosecuting would-be purchasers.
The District Attorney’s Office expressed thanks for the efforts of each of its partner agencies in this year’s operation, including San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office — Special Operations Unit & Special Victim’s Unit; DeliverFund; California Highway Patrol — Investigative Services Unit; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) — Santa Maria Field Office; Ventura County Sheriff’s Office — Special Crimes Unit/Human Trafficking Team; San Luis Obispo County Probation Department; California Department of Justice — Fresno and Sacramento Sexual Predator/Human Trafficking Teams; San Luis Obispo Police Department; San Luis Obispo County District Attorney — Bureau of Investigations; and the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney — Christopher G. Money Victim Witness Assistance Center.
“Our partnership with DeliverFund ensured that our tri-county operation was successful, meeting our objective to disrupt and dismantle trafficking activity and to rescue victims from their traffickers,” Dow said. “Our community is safer today because of the assistance that DeliverFund has provided to our enforcement team. Our local operation led to the arrest of three individuals who were attempting to purchase a 13-year-old child for sexual exploitation and six other arrests for trafficking-related crimes.”
It is important to note that a criminal complaint contains charges that must be proven in a court of law by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.