Manteca, CA

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Manteca is a city in San Joaquin County in Northern California, near Stockton, and has a population of approximately 84,000 people. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in the city, surrounding communities, and in other areas of the county. This activity, and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates result in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking, specifically child sex trafficking. For example, in May 2015, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against a Manteca man, charging him with the sex trafficking of a minor. The 52-year-old man was accused of recruiting a 16-year-old girl to engage in prostitution while he was employed at the Bureau of Prisons from February to March 2015. According to court documents, he rented hotel rooms for the girl in the Sacramento area and posted ads online.

When the number of human trafficking cases began steadily increasing in 2016 and 2017 throughout San Joaquin County (including Manteca), the District Attorney’s Office announced it was making efforts to educate the public and urging local residents to be more vigilant in combating the issue. San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Elton Grau said:

“There are a lot of agencies in our county that still don’t understand how widespread this crime is… It’s [human trafficking] in Lodi. It’s in Stockton. It’s in Manteca. It’s in Tracy. It’s everywhere. No city escapes this crime right now.” [Lodi News Sentinel, May 20, 2017]

In January 2017, a Manteca man was arrested following a human trafficking operation, in which an officer was posed online as a prostitute for hire. In March of 2017, 10 people were arrested in connection with a human trafficking operation in rural Stockton that led to the rescue of a girl and a woman, according to the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office. In a statement from the public information office, at the district attorney’s office, there were 28 cases of human trafficking, pimping, and pandering in San Joaquin County in 2016. In the first third of 2017, there were three confirmed cases of human trafficking, and more tips and leads were being explored. Two unconnected long-term investigations into human trafficking in the county resulted in the rescue of eight girls, ages 14 to 17, and the arrest of almost two dozen people.

Among the tactics used to address such problems are those designed to curtail consumer-level demand. For example, in April 2017, eighteen people were arrested in a human trafficking sting in Manteca. Manteca police coordinated with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office to conduct the sting to rescue victims of human trafficking and to arrest sexual predators who may target minors. Some of the charges were offenses related to prostitution. Three of the arrests were for contacting a minor with the intent to commit a sexual offense. Those three suspects were booked at San Joaquin County Jail on felony charges. The identities of the arrested sex buyers were released to the public.

In January 2017, a reverse sting operation resulted in a 23-year-old Manteca man being jailed on charges of soliciting minors for sex. In an ongoing effort to fight human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children, Manteca detectives routinely look at online personal ads. While doing this, they found an ad that appeared to be soliciting young females for sex. Posing as an underage girl, police contacted the person who posted the ad. That person later identified the man who made the sexually explicit comments and arranged a meeting for sex. When he arrived, the suspect was arrested and booked into the San Joaquin County Jail, on charges of communicating with a minor for sexual purposes and meeting a minor for sexual purposes.

In February 2019, a collaborative law enforcement operation between Lathrop Police Services, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, and the Manteca Police Department yielded nine arrests of persons attempting to engage in sexual contact with a minor less than 14 years of age. In April 2019, the police doubled down on making arrests  – taking 18 people into custody in the four days prior to an all-out blitz and prostitution sting one night which netted four additional arrests for solicitation, one for burglary, and one for an outstanding warrant. All of the contact between the decoy deputies – who worked out of a room at Lathrop Police Services, and included Lathrop Police, San Joaquin County Sheriff, and Manteca Police officers – took place on websites that anybody with an internet connection can access.

Key Partners

  • Manteca Police Department
  • San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office
  • San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office
  • San Joaquin County Jail
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
State California
Type City
Population 83498
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