Skip to Content
News

Man pled guilty to human trafficking case in Santa Barbara

human trafficking generic traffic
MGN Online

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Man pleads guilty to human trafficking charges on Wednesday in Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara County District Attorney announced that David Johnson, 34, pled guilty as charged in a human trafficking sex case on Wednesday.

Johnson was charged with human trafficking, pimping and pandering.

He also admitted special allegations for inflicting great bodily injury upon Jane Doe during the time that he was also human trafficking her.

He further admitted to a prior strike conviction for robbery and also admitted to serving two separate terms in prison.

Johnson is a known Piru Blood gang member from Los Angeles.

In April 2016, Johnson met 18-year-old Jane Doe in Miami, Florida.

Johnson told her she could make money dancing in Los Angeles. He then convinced her he loved her and she decided to move to California with him.

After moving to Los Angeles, Johnson became violent to her.

Ultimately, he took her to Utah where he insisted she begin working for him as a prostitute.

Over the next 16 months, Johnson sex-trafficked Jane Doe to various states including Washington, Nevada and all over California.

During this time, he beat her severely that she required medical attention on multiple occasions.

Her injuries included a broken nose, a lacerated brow and injury to her genitalia.

Johnson often threatened to kill her as well as her family.

As a result, Jane Doe was in constant fear for both herself and those she loved, she continued to work for him as a prostitute.

On June 29, 2017, Santa Barbara Police Department conducted a human trafficking sting operation.

The goal of the operation was to locate and liberate victims of human sex trafficking.

During the course of their investigation, they located an escort advertisement featuring Jane Doe.

Sergeant Ryan DeJohn posed as a client and set up a meeting with Jane Doe.

Sergeant DeJohn's investigation revealed that she was a victim of human trafficking.

District Attorney Joyce Dudley gave the following statement:

“Throughout the next several months Sergeant DeJohn, and other extraordinarily dedicated professionals with the Santa Barbara Police Department, worked closely with Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office’s Human Trafficking Task Force on this case. Our team of DA experts included: Prosecuting Attorney Senior DDA Jenn Karapetian, supervising victim advocate Rita McGaw and a team of DA Investigators lead by Commander Robert Lowry.  All of these criminal justice professionals worked tirelessly to gather as much evidence and legal research as they could to educate the jury and support the human trafficking victim/survivor.  This same team also had to garner the trust and support of the terrified victim, her family and other witnesses who understandably feared retaliation.”

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley

On Wednesday after a jury had been impaneled and Prosecutor Karapedian presented her opening statement, Johnson pled guilty as charged to all charges and allegations even though Senior DDA Karapetian refused to offer any plea bargain.

After pleading guilty to all charges and allegations the case was continued for sentencing to March 19, 2020 in Department 11 of the Santa Barbara County Superior Court.

Johnson is now facing a maximum sentence of 57 years in state prison.

Crime / Safety / Santa Barbara- S County

Julia Nguyen

Julia Nguyen is an assignment editor and social media coordinator at KEYT|KCOY|KKFX.