Southern California

Man, Woman Arrested on Suspicion of Human Trafficking Charges in Orange County

A man and a woman were arrested Thursday after officials led a three-day investigation to search for a 15-year-old runaway who was being trafficked in Orange County, human trafficking task force officials said in a news release Sunday.

Ariel Guizar, 35, and Araceli Mendoza, 23, both of San Jose, were arrested on suspicion of human trafficking Thursday evening after officers located their vehicle and two additional victims at a motel in Anaheim, according to the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force.

On Wednesday, concerned family members contacted the task force regarding a 15-year-old female runaway who was believed to be trafficked in Anaheim.

The task force, along with other agencies, then launched a three-day investigation throughout Southern and Central California to search for the runaway.

She was located in Bellflower on Thursday afternoon, officials said. During the police interview, she identified at least two other young female human trafficking victims, all three of whom were trafficked by the suspect, who used threats of violence and a handgun against them, officials said.

Investigators discovered a handgun and two 19-year-old women in Guizar's hotel room, officials said.

Guizar is being held on $1 million bail and Mendoza on $250,000 bail. Both were booked at the Orange County Jail for human trafficking of a minor and weapon violations.

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