A Sacramento man was arrested on charges of human trafficking in Ventura County last week after investigators said he forced multiple victims – including minors from the Sacramento area – to engage in prostitution.
The investigation that culminated in the arrest of 31-year-old James Powell began when Citrus Heights police, attempting to locate a 14-year-old runaway, found photos of the girl being used to advertise prostitution services in the Camarillo area. Citrus Heights police notified the Ventura County Sheriff's Office, and deputies began searching for the girl at lodging establishments in the area, authorities said.
Deputies eventually located the missing 14-year-old, along with victims aged 17 and 22, at a hotel in Camarillo. Further investigation led them to believe there were more victims who were unaccounted for, authorities said.
The next day, deputies located another victim in Sacramento. The final victim was found with Powell as he attempted to check into a hotel in Manhattan Beach.
Powell was arrested and booked into the Todd Road jail in Ventura County on two charges of causing, inducing and persuading a minor to engage in a commercial sex act and two charges of human trafficking. His bail was set at $510,000.
Powell is expected to appear in court on April 4.