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Crime

Seven men face solicitation charges after Anti-Human Trafficking Operation takes place in San Luis Obispo County

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MGN Online

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. - San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow announced on Saturday that seven men are facing charges for solicitation of prostitution and one is being convicted for human trafficking in SLO County following an investigation earlier this year.

These eight cases are the product of a statewide campaign called Operation Reclaim and Rebuild 2020. The San Luis Obispo County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force participated in the operation in January.

All seven men charged with solicitation are scheduled to appear for arraignment for the charges on Wednesday, July 22, in the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court.

The District Attorney's Office has released the identifications of all seven men charged with solicitation. Their names and locations are listed below:

  • Vernon Randall Anderson, 66, of Templeton
  • Edgar Ernesto Blasmendez, 26, of Lompoc
  • David Sean Byrnes, 54, of San Luis Obispo
  • Jake Daniel Ceniseroz, 32, of Atascadero
  • Michael Edward James Durighello, 33, of San Luis Obispo
  • Maximino Maldonadoguzman, 45, of Santa Maria
  • Stephan Ruffino, 66, of Santa Maria

"The demand for prostitution creates a lucrative cash market that traffickers fill with victims - many who are children," said District Attorney Dan Dow. "Our local anti-human trafficking purchaser sting operations are designed to reduce the demand for commercial sex that leads to exploitation of minors and adults every day in our community. If you are considering purchasing sexual services, please stop and consider that one million kids are trafficked for sex each year."

The San Luis Obispo County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force was formally established by District Attorney Dan Dow shortly after his election in 2014. It is made up of law enforcement and partner staff members from the following organizations: Santa Barbara County Sheriff, Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office, California Highway Patrol, San Luis Obispo County Probation, Federal Bureau of Investigation (Santa Maria Office), California Department of Justice, Deliverfund, and the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Bureau of Investigation. 

The DA's Office said this operation by the Task Force was directly aimed at disrupting networks of human trafficking for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation on the Central Coast, identifying and assisting survivors of trafficking, and reducing the demand for trafficking and the exploitation of minors by identifying and prosecuting would-be purchasers.

This local operation has led to the successful arrest and prosecution of Guy Alvin Azama Jr., 32, of San Francisco for human trafficking and pimping of a human trafficking survivor. Azama pled to these charges and was sentenced in the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court on May 5, 2020. He was sentenced to five years in State Prison for this conviction, however, is currently being held at the San Luis Obispo County Jail due to the prohibition against transporting inmates during the COVID-19 pandemic.

San Luis Obispo County / Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County
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Jessica Brest

Jessica Brest is a digital journalist and assignment editor for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Jessica, click here.

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