California

Teen refused to be a prostitute. Her traffickers tried to run her over, California deputies say

San Bernardino deputies arrested two on suspicion of human trafficking and pandering after they allegedly tried forcing a teen into prostitution, then tried to run her over when she refused.
San Bernardino deputies arrested two on suspicion of human trafficking and pandering after they allegedly tried forcing a teen into prostitution, then tried to run her over when she refused. San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department

Officers watched it happen: A vehicle barreled toward a 17-year-old girl, almost striking her and running her over, deputies said.

After witnessing the April 20 incident and pulling the driver over in downtown San Bernardino, California, it didn't take long to figure out what was going on, deputies said. The two suspects in the car had trafficked a teen victim, and tried to run her over around 3 p.m. that day after she refused to work as a prostitute, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

Matthew Fraise, 24, and Stacey Salgado, 27 — both residents of Colton, California — were arrested and booked at the San Bernardino Central Detention Center on suspicion of felony pandering and human trafficking of a minor, the sheriff’s department said.

Fraise and Salgado are each being held on $150,000 bond.

Officers spoke to Fraise, Salgado and the victim at the scene, and determined that the collision “was an intentional act by Fraise and possibly related to ongoing prostitution in the area.”

Investigators also suspected the teen girl was a human trafficking victim, so they brought all three to the San Bernardino Police Department for more questioning. Those interviews revealed that Fraise was “currently pandering Salgado,” and that the pair was trying to make the teen work as a prostitute for them as well, deputies said.

If you notice suspicious activity in your community, call the ICE Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.

When the teen girl said no, they began arguing. Then, after Fraise picked up Salgado in his car, Fraise and Salgado tried running the girl over while she walked down the road, deputies said.

Once officers had helped the teen victim after the collision, they took her to San Bernardino County Juvenile Hall. She had an outstanding arrest warrant of her own, the sheriff’s department said.

Fraise and Salgado were both arraigned on Tuesday, the San Bernardino Sun reports. Fraise pleaded not guilty to the four felonies he was charged with, including causing a minor to engage in commercial sex, pandering by procuring a minor over age 16 and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon.

Salgado also pleaded not guilty, the Sun reports. She faces two felony charges: causing a minor to engage in commercial sex and pandering by procuring a minor over age 16.

Their next court appearances are set for May 2, the newspaper reports.

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