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Claremont is a suburban city on the eastern edge of Los Angeles County, CA, about 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, CA. It has a population of approximately 36,000 residents. Problems associated with prostitution and sex trafficking have been well documented in the city. Among the more serious issues associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking of adults and minors, and associated drug trafficking and violence, particularly from the motels adjacent to Indian Hill Blvd. and the 10 Freeway in Claremont.
To reduce the demand for commercial sex in the city that drives all sex trafficking, the Claremont Police Department have conducted reverse sting operations, both street-level and web-based. For example, in May, 2017, a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy was arrested by Claremont police after he attempted to solicit sex from an undercover female officer online. The former sheriff’s deputy was arrested and charged with soliciting prostitution and was later sentenced to 30 days in jail. According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the 56-year-old deputy pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count of “soliciting a prostitute.” At the time of the arrest, the former deputy was off-duty, and was arrested by local law enforcement participating in a multi-agency sex trafficking sting upon arriving to the motel. According to reports, the LA County Sheriff’s Department suspended the officer without pay as a result of his arrest.
In January of 2018, Claremont police participated in a sting operation in Pomona’s “Holt Corridor” that produced the arrest of four male sex buyers. In May of 2019, Claremont police participated in a similar operation that produced the arrest of 24 male sex buyers. In the 2019 operation, the Pomona Police Department Major Crimes Task Force hosted a prostitution enforcement operation targeted male sex buyers seeking to exchange money for sexual acts. The operation was supported by members of the Azusa and Claremont Police Department, California Highway Patrol- Baldwin Park, and the LA County MART. Undercover female police officers posed as prostituted women. The undercover officers negotiated various sexual acts in exchange for money, and once the deal was complete, a signal was provided to an arrest team that arrested he buyers. In addition to the 24 arrests, 22 vehicles were impounded. Identities of arrested sex buyers were included in reports by local media outlets.
In September, 2020, Claremont Police arrested 49 people during four directed enforcement details in response to two shootings at a Motel and noticing signs of increases gang activity and sex trafficking. Forty arrests were made for drug possession or sale and possession of firearms. According to Sgt. Hardin, an increase in prostitution-related activity is responsible for the increase in other violent crimes within the area,
“One of the main issues that some of the criminal activity down there was revolving around was the increase in prostitution. That was the reason we conducted the sting.”
Within a month of the drug operation, officers conducted a prostitution sting in the same area that resulted in the arrest of nine male sex buyers.
In November, 2022, police arrested 15 people for soliciting prostitution during an undercover operation in Claremont, targeting the Indian Hill area and the 10 Freeway. Claremont Police says these areas had received “multiple complaints” from residents, local business owners and passersby regarding heightened prostitution activity. Three undercover officers posed as prostituted women during the operation, soliciting people who wished to engage in sexual acts. A total of 15 people were taken into custody for allegedly soliciting prostitution and sex acts. One suspect was arrested for attempting to “pimp and pander” the undercover officers, and was also a registered sex offender for the same charge.
In January, 2023, a one-day prostitution sting in Claremont resulted in 16 arrests. The operation took place Friday in the area of Indian Hill Blvd. the 110 Freeway, and came after police received “multiple complaints” from residents and businesses owners, Claremont Police said in a news release. During the operation, four undercover officers who posed as prostituted women were solicited by subjects who sought to engage in commercial sexual acts with the decoys. Once the undercover officers were solicited, the sex buyers were arrested, booked, and later released pending appearances at Pomona Superior Court. The sex buyers ranged in age from 22 to 72.
Some arrests of sex buyers in Claremont have been the product of investigations of offenses against real victims, rather than proactive reverse stings using police decoys. For example, in November of 2017, an anonymous tip led Claremont police to arrest a 53-year-old man who was allegedly soliciting sex from a minor online. According to reports, the offender was arrested and booked on suspicion of having sex with a minor, oral copulation with a minor and contacting a minor for sex, according to a Claremont police news release. He was released on $50,000 bail. Officers discovered that the offender had arranged to meet the 16-year-old girl again, and upon his arrival he was arrested by police.
In July, 2022, police officers were dispatched to the 800 block of S. Indian Hill on citizen reports of prostitution in progress. Witnesses saw a woman get into a vehicle and provided police with the license plate number. Officers stopped the truck a short distance away and questioned the woman passenger, who allegedly said the man offered her $50 for a sexual act and she agreed. She was arrested for prostitution. While speaking with her, officers say the male driver showed symptoms of alcohol intoxication and, following field sobriety tests, he was arrested for DUI as well as “solicitation of a prostitute.” Both were transported to CPD jail where the woman was released with a citation to appear in court, and the man was held for detoxification and later released with his own citation to appear in court. In April, 2023, another reverse sting produced the arrest of 12 sex buyers.
Reverse Sting, Web-Based Reverse Sting, Identity Disclosure:
- https://patch.com/claremont-laverne/deputy-sentenced-soliciting-prostitute-claremont (2017)
- https://patch.com/8-caught-los-angeles-county-prostitution-sting (2018)
- https://cbslocal.com/8-arrested-in-pomona-prostitution-sting/ (2018)
- http://nixle.us/B2MW6 (2019)
- https://www.claremont-courier.com/arrest (2019)
- https://www.claremont-courier.com/articles/police/ (2020)
- https://ktla.com/16-arrested-in-l-a-county-for-soliciting-prostitution/ (2022)
- https://ktla.com/prostitution-sting-nets-16-arrests-in-claremont/ (2023)
- https://claremont-courier.com/police-arrest-16-men-in-sex-work-sting (2023)
- https://kfiam640.iheart.com/claremont-police-arrest-12-men-in-prostitution-sting/ (2023)
- https://vigourtimes.com/claremont-police-arrest-12-men-in-prostitution-sting/ (2023)
- https://mynewsla.com/claremont-police-arrest-12-men-in-prostitution-sting/ (2023)
- http://nixle.us/B2MW6 (2019)
- https://www.dailybulletin.com/24-men-arrested-22-vehicles-impounded-in-pomona-prostitution-sting-operation/ (2019)
Arrest of Sex Buyer; Identity Disclosure
Background on Local Sex Trafficking
- https://www.fontanaheraldnews.com/news/victim-of-human-trafficking-tells-horrifying-story (2010)
- https://www.claremont-courier.com/articles/news/arrest (2019)
- https://www.dailybulletin.com/18-arrested-including-johns-in-latest-large-pomona-prostitution-bust/ (2019)
- https://www.dailybulletin.com/new-pomona-police-team-fights-prostitution-human-trafficking-holt-avenue/ (2020)
- https://claremont-courier.com/claremont-police-work-to-address-growing-prostitution-problem (2021)
- https://claremont-courier.com/taking-back-the-streets-of-south-claremont (2022)
- https://claremont-courier.com/killing-brings-urgent-focus-on-claremont-area-motel-crime (2022)
- https://www.eagletimes.com/taking-to-the-streets-annual-steppin-up-to-end-violence-5k (2022)
- https://www.dailybulletin.com/claremont-tackling-crime-and-prostitution-at-10-freeway-adjacent-motels/ (2022)