A local police sting targeting people using a popular classified advertising website to find prostitutes has led to the arrest of 20 men at a Goleta hotel.
Santa Barbara County sheriff’s detectives with the Special Investigations Bureau and Santa Barbara police officers conducted a reverse “John” sting operation on July 7-8 at an undisclosed hotel, according to sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.
“The sting involved investigators placing an online ad on Backpage.com, a website known for online prostitution-related advertisements,” Hoover said. “Once the ad was placed, a female undercover detective negotiated with an inquiring person or ‘John’ a sexual act for an amount of money.”
After an agreement was made, she explained, the undercover detective provided her location. When the “John” arrived, he was arrested for solicitation of prostitution, she said.
Hoover said all of those arrested were cooperative with authorities.
Those booked into County Jail for violation of solicitation of prostitution included:
» Vatche Agob, 20, of Isla Vista
» Christopher Blaul, 48, of Santa Barbara
» Ramon Chavez-Antolino, 34, of Santa Barbara
» Edward Farley, 66, of Santa Barbara
» Eric Fowler, 43, of Fresno
» Jeremiah Frazier, 23, of Santa Barbara
» Peter Gaum, 57, of Santa Barbara
» Ger Hang, 31, of Lompoc
» Keisuke Hata, 21, of Goleta
» Isaac Kielmanowicz, 20, of Santa Barbara
» Justin Litterelle, 35, of Philadelphia
» Laszlo Nagy-Berta, 44, of Ventura
» Nho Nguyen, 59, of Santa Barbara
» Allen Obiols, 51, of Santa Barbara
» Antonio Perez-Collado, 56, of Goleta
» Juan Pimentel, 44, of Goleta
» Jesus Saldana, 28, of Santa Barbara
» Jose Torres, 23, of Goleta
» Matthew Wu, 20, of Santa Barbara
» Juan Zepeda-Corona, 40, of Solvang
Hoover said the number of online prostitution-related advertisements has seen significant growth in recent years.
“By conducting these types of operations, the intention is to deter people, or the ‘Johns,’ from searching for a prostitute, thereby reducing the demand and hopefully reducing the amount of women who fall victim to the abuse of human trafficking,” she said.
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