Menifee, 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

Menifee is a city of approximately 106,000 residents in Riverside County, California, within the Los Angeles Combined Statistical Area. The city is centrally located in Southern California, in the Menifee Valley, about 15 miles north of Temecula and just north of Murrieta. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been well documented throughout the county for decades, including within Menifee. Efforts to combat consumer-level demand for commercial sex have been implemented locally. In 2019 and 2020, Menifee residents were arrested in reverse stings in nearby Lake Elsinore and Temecula. In February 2022, a statewide sting operation targeting online prostitution netted hundreds of arrests across California, including 38 Riverside County residents (31 of which were male sex buyers) and nine from the cities of Menifee, Lake Elsinore, Murrieta, and Temecula. The four-day-long “Operation Reclaim & Rebuild” was conducted Feb. 7-10 in Riverside County and involved local law enforcement agencies from across the region along with federal investigators from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The local crackdown coincided with Operation Reclaim & Rebuild stings across the state. During the Riverside County law enforcement effort, task force members arrested 31 males and seven females for misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution. The complete list of names was publicly disclosed here. To arrest the alleged offenders, officers placed decoy advertisements on websites commonly used for prostitution—some of the ads targeted sex buyers, who were arrested once they arrived at pre-determined meeting locations.

In September 2022, a Menifee Valley Middle School teacher was placed on leave following his arrest for solicitation of prostitution. He had been arrested along with nine other men in Temecula after responding to a decoy advertisement on social media as part of a police prostitution sting, according to a Riverside County Sheriff’s Department news release. The sex buyers were arrested as they arrived at the meeting location. The public information officer for the Menifee Union School District confirmed that one man was a district employee, and he was identified on multiple online sites as being a teacher at MVMS. The district informed parents that the Menifee Union School District was aware that a district employee was arrested “in an incident unrelated to the district.” Once the district was made aware of the arrest, the employee was immediately placed on leave pending the outcome of the investigation. By December, the teacher had been removed from the school’s web page for school staff and assumed to have been terminated or resigned.

In January, 2023, a series of law enforcement operations throughout Riverside County targeting suspects seeking or engaged in illicit sexual services produced 31 arrests. The county’s Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force joined other agencies statewide in “Operation Reclaim & Rebuild,” with the goal of suppressing the sex trade by targeting sex buyers, as well as identifying and supporting victims, and apprehending sex traffickers.  The effort in Riverside County occurred when identical sweeps were taking place in numerous other jurisdictions across California.  Operation Reclaim & Rebuild netted a total of 368 arrests and 131 rescues statewide. In Riverside County, arrests were made in Banning, Hemet, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Murrieta, Perris, Riverside, San Jacinto, Temecula and Wildomar. About the operation, a Sergeant with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office said,

“The operation targeted online prostitution and those whose demand for these unlawful activities fuels an illicit underground economy, both locally, as well as across the state. Often, individuals engaging in acts of prostitution are being forced to commit sexual acts against their will.”

Most of the individuals apprehended in the Riverside County operation were booked on suspicion of solicitation of prostitution, though one was additionally taken into custody for alleged pimping, and various services and resources were provided and offered to seven rescued victims. The identities of the arrested sex buyers were included in a press release by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office.

Key Partners

State California
Type City
Population 106401
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