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2 Sacramento men arrested as kidnapped teen busts sex trafficking ring with text, police say

Two Sacramento-area men and a third from Indiana were arrested last week in San Jose after a text message from a runaway 14-year-old girl alerted police to a sex trafficking operation, authorities said.

Christopher Lyon Johnson, 39, of Sacramento, and Curtis Lee Russell, 59, of Natomas were arrested May 26, along with 43-year-old Antoine Williams of Merrillville, Ind., at a Motel 6 in San Jose where the teen and two California women in their early 20s were being held, police told The Mercury News last week.

The 14-year-old girl, who has not been named, used the Crisis Text Line to report that she was being forced by her captors into prostitution, according to the Mercury News story, which was also shared late last week on social media by the San Jose Police Department.

Officers found the 14-year-old and two women, ages 20 and 23, and rescued them safely, authorities told the publication.

The girl told the text line she ran away from her home in Flint, Mich., last September and was kidnapped days later in Chicago, according to authorities. She was trafficked through Indiana and then California, she told police.

“It was courageous for the 14-year-old to do what she did,” San Jose police Sgt. Enrique Garcia told The Mercury News.

According to a blog post on its website, Crisis Text Line co-founder and CEO Nancy Lublin ended up being the crisis counselor for the incident.

“Yes, this one was stressful,” Lublin wrote. “As soon as it was apparent that this was a child being trafficked, I grabbed my best friends to handle it with me: Ben & Jerry and a spoon. I was on my couch at home, eating ice cream and feeling in awe of this brave girl.”

All three suspects were booked into Santa Clara County jail May 27 on various charges including pimping, pandering, kidnapping and human trafficking.

Crisis Text Line was created in 2013.

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Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.
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