Murrieta, CA

Tactics Used

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

Murrieta a city in southwestern Riverside County, California, located in the center of the Los Angeles-San Diego region near Temecula. The population of Murrieta is roughly 114,000, and has been one of the fastest-growing cities in the state.  Prostitution and sex trafficking have been identified as substantial problems within Murietta and in other nearby communities (e.g.,CoronaHemetLake ElsinoreMoreno ValleyRiversideTemecula).   The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Riverside Police and federal FBI agents have collaborated with municipal police departments – including Murieta’s – to conduct investigations into human trafficking of minors and prostitution.

To address consumer-level demand for commercial sex that drives both prostitution and sex trafficking, the Murietta Police Department, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, and other agencies have conducted reverse stings on both street level and  using the internet.  For example, in January, 2021, the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RCAHT) participated in the annual statewide Operation Reclaim & Rebuild, which ran for a week near the end of the month.  RCAHT task force members and allied Riverside County law enforcement partners web-based reverse sting operations in the cities of Lake Elsinore, La Quinta, Murrieta, Riverside, Palm Desert and Temecula. RCAHT Task Force members placed decoy advertisements on popular classified advertisement web sites commonly used for the solicitation of prostitution. These RCAHT Task Force members then responded to prospective customers who replied to these advertisements. Once an agreement for prostitution was brokered, the customers were arrested upon their arrival at a pre-determined meeting location. The operation  arrested 61 males and one female for solicitation of prostitution, and one male for soliciting a minor for lewd purposes.  The operation was a collaboration that included the La Quinta Special Enforcement Team, Palm Desert Special Enforcement Team, Lake Elsinore Special Enforcement Team, Temecula Special Enforcement Team, Riverside Police Department and Murrieta Police Department.  The identities of the arrested sex buyers were listed in RCAHT press releases and some news reports.  During that operation, on January 27, 2021, the Murrieta Police Department and the RCAHT conducted a proactive enforcement operation that targeted online prostitution; 10 males were arrested for solicitation of prostitution and one male was arrested for supervising/aiding a person to commit prostitution. Murrieta PD also contacted one adult female who was believed to be the victim of human trafficking and possibly being forced to engage in acts of prostitution against her will. The identities of the 10 sex buyers were released to the public.

Key Partners

  • Murrieta Police Department
  • Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RCAHT)
  • Riverside County Sheriff’s Office
  • Riverside Police Department
  • La Quinta Special Enforcement Team
  • Palm Desert Special Enforcement Team
  • Lake Elsinore Special Enforcement Team
  • Temecula Special Enforcement Team
  • FBI

Key Sources

Web-based Reverse Stings, Shaming:

Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:

State California
Type City
Population 12941
Location
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