Manteca, CA

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Web stings
License suspension

Manteca is located in San Joaquin County in Northern California, near Stockton.  Sex trafficking and prostitution are longstanding problems throughout the county, and in the citisies and towns within it.  For example, in May, 2015 a federal grand jury returned an indictment against a Manteca man, charging him with 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 was employed at the Bureau of Prisons from February to March of 2015. According to court documents, he rented hotel rooms for the girl in the Sacramento area, and helped her post ads online.

When the number of human trafficking cases was 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.

“There’s a lot of agencies in our county that still don’t understand how widespread this crime is,” San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Elton Grau said. “It’s 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 that had an officer posing online as a prostitute for hire. In March of 2017, 10 people had been 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 officer 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 had been 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 in early 2017.

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 the sexual predators who 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 subjects 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 that, 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 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 people attempting to engage in sexual contact with a minor less than 14 years of age.  In April 2019, there were more than double that amount of 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. And 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 76908
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