By El Latino Newsroom
During the first week of February, Detectives from the Ventura County Human Trafficking Task Force (VCHTTF) participated in the statewide operation known as Operation Reclaim and Rebuild.
Throughout the week, investigators went to locations in the tri- county area, to include locations in Ventura County, known for sex trafficking activity and set up sting operations.
Investigators also targeted businesses in which there have been reports of illegal sexual activity.
Locally, 5 victims were contacted and connected with local victim resources in Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo Counties.
Another eight arrests were made for various criminal violations including solicitation of prostitution, pimping, and pandering.
The operation is part of the celebration of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
“Operation Reclaim and Rebuild traditionally occurs around this time frame, when local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies join for enforcement efforts,” said in a press release VCHTTF Detective, Kathryn Torres.
The VCHTTF comprised of two full time Sheriff’s Detectives supported by representative detectives from each law enforcement agency in Ventura County and several victim service providers.
The VCHTTF investigates both labor and sex trafficking occurring in Ventura County. “Many human trafficking groups operate regionally and transport their victims to different areas to avoid law enforcement detection. VCHTTF Detectives have established close working relationships with nearby task forces in an attempt to stop trafficking from occurring in our counties and continue to strengthen intra-agency bonds through collaboration”, said Detective Torres.
Detectives encourage victims to contact “211” or local law enforcement if you believe you are victim or know a victim of human trafficking to be connected with services.
JAIL VISITS IN PERSON
Since the onset of COVID-19, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office (VCSO), has worked to create plans to minimize the spread of this illness inside the jail facilities, as a precaution to protect those who are currently unaffected.
“Based on this decrease of COVID-19 positive cases among our inmate population, we will be reinstating in-person visitation,” said the VCSO in a press release.
Effective February 28, the Main Jail, and the Todd Road Jail facility will resume in-person visitation.
Also, the VCSO stated that they continually monitors all individuals in the custody of the Sheriff to quickly identify and respond to concerns.
“Over the past couple of months, we monitored a continuous spike in COVID-19 cases among the inmate population at both the Main Jail in Ventura and the Todd Road Jail in Santa Paula,” the VCSO said.
This spike coincided with the spike seen within the county population.
As such, both the Main Jail and Todd Road Jail facilities temporarily suspended in-person visitation.
During this time period, professional visits, including those by attorneys, were still permitted, but only as non-contact visits.
“As the number of COVID-19 positive cases have dropped throughout the county population, the positive cases within our inmate population have steadily dropped as well”, they said.
The VCSO, also stated that recognizes how visitation is an essential part of inmate rehabilitation and we are pleased that those within their custody will soon have face to face interaction with their friends and loved ones again.
Video visitation is still available. (www.venturasheriff.org/inmate)
The continuation of in-person visits will be evaluated on a regular basis to ensure it is safe for the inmate population and those who come to our facilities to visit them.
ELDERLY STAB AND CHEWS MANS EAR
In a bizarre event an elderly 63-year-old man was arrested in Camarillo after he stabbed an elderly victim, to whom he also cut off and chewed part of his ear.
On February 19 at around 8:55 a.m., Camarillo deputies responded to a call of fight in the 50 Block of Oak Street in Camarillo.
They arrived and found a male victim suffering from multiple stab wounds to his body, along with a severed ear.
The investigation revealed the victim was attacked by Raymond Cortinas for no apparent reason.
Both Cortinas and the victim are known to each other and reside in a multi-resident assisted living facility for the elderly.
The victim was taken to a local hospital where he was treated for his injuries.
Cortinas was detained at the scene and taken into custody shortly after the incident on charges of attempted murder and mayhem.
He was booked at the Pre-Trial Detention Facility, where he is currently being held in lieu of a $1,500,000 bail.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact Sheriff’s Major Crimes Sergeant William Hutton, 805.384.4727, for anonymously information call Crime Stoppers at, 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
SB: ARRESTS MADE IN HOMOCIDE
The Santa Bárbara County Sheriff Office’s detectives have made two arrests in the Goleta homicide investigation that began on February 10.
Detectives arrested 34-year-old Isaiah Alexander of Santa Barbara on February 14, 2022, at approximately 3:30 p.m., in the 1600-block of State Street.
He was booked at the Main Jail for murder and is being held on $2,000,000 bail.
Just few days later, on February 16, at approximately 9:07 a.m. detectives arrested 36-year-old Anthony Torres Lopez Jr. of Santa Barbara in the area of Laguna and Cota St.
Lopez is being booked at the Main Jail for robbery (felony) and attempted extortion (felony). His bail amount is pending.
“The preliminary investigation indicates that the victim, 43-year-old Richard Andrew Cardona, and the suspects were familiar with each other, and this was not a random attack,” said the SBCSO in a press release.
Sheriff’s detectives are continuing this investigation and are asking to anyone with information to contact detectives at, 805.681.4150, or leave an anonymous tip at, 805.681.4171 or online at www.SBSheriff.org.
SANTA MARIA: SCHOLAR IS BEING INVESTIGATED
The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District announced have been engaged in an ongoing investigation involving allegations of inappropriate behavior on a school campus by Righetti High School Assistant Principal Gene Rickman with another District employee.
On February 16, Mr. Rickman submitted his resignation, he was employed with SMJUHSD since July 1, 2015.
The District also stated that follows proper reporting procedures in these types of cases, including reporting to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing
“We have made arrangements to ensure proper administrative coverage so that student instruction and activities are not disrupted. The District also continues to make mental health and counseling services available for students that need any additional support,” said the SMJUHSD in a press release.