Napa County, 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

Napa County is located north of San Pablo Bay in northern California. The population is about 136,000 residents. The city of Napa is the largest municipality in the county. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city of Napa and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of Napa 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 child sex trafficking. For example, in May 2011, two brothers were arrested on suspicion of sex trafficking a juvenile girl, according to the Napa Police Department. They were arrested during a probation search, and officers allegedly found text messages on one man’s phone indicating trafficking of the girl, including times and costs for sexual acts and nude pictures he used to advertise to buyers. The minor was allegedly advertised on a website. The suspects were arrested on suspicion of prostitution, possession of child pornography (i.e, child sexual abuse materials), conspiracy, and violation of probation, and both were booked into the Napa County jail.

In July 2017, a six-month investigation culminated in the arrest of a Napa man for pimping and pandering. The suspect contacted an undercover detective online and attempted to recruit her for prostitution, telling the detective that he would come to Napa County to pick her up and take her to another location to “work.” When he arrived at the agreed upon location, he was met by NSIB detectives and arrested. In August 2018, the NSIB conducted another prostitution sting, resulting in the arrest of a 22-year-old Napa woman whose 7-month-old child was taken into protective custody by Napa County Children’s Welfare Services. Detectives received information that a Napa woman was engaged in prostitution from her apartment on Solano Avenue, and NSIB detectives served a search warrant. Detectives learned the young mother was first sex trafficked in Napa County at the age of 16, and was currently engaging in prostitution at home, sometimes while her infant was home with her. In addition, documented violence associated with commercial sex in Napa includes cases of pimps committing armed robbery against sex buyers. In 2022, a Napa County couple was sentenced to California state prison in a sex trafficking case involving a girl they lured to the area from Georgia. The couple operated out of their home in American Canyon and recruited the minor victim and other young women to engage in prostitution throughout Northern California. One of the defendants was sentenced to 16 years in state prison after pleading no contest to pandering a minor, assault with a deadly weapon, felon in possession of a firearm, and resisting arrest. The other was sentenced to seven years and after pleading no contest to pandering a minor, identity theft, and false personation.

Consumer-level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. To identify and apprehend local sex buyers driving the prostitution and sex trafficking markets, police have conducted reverse stings and publicized the identities of the arrested sex buyers. In September 2018, the Napa Special Investigations Bureau (a unit within the Napa County Sheriff’s Office) conducted an undercover operation that resulted in the arrest of a man who had been communicating on social media with agents who were posing as a 17-year-old girl from Napa. Rather than just purchase sex, the suspect attempted to recruit the girl into child sex trafficking. Detectives said the suspect was actively involved in pimping and possibly trafficking other victims, and NSIB’s investigation was continuing. The suspect was booked into the Napa County Department of Corrections on a $500,000 bail for suspicion of attempted human trafficking and pimping and pandering a minor — all felonies. In October, 2018, a Napa prostitution sting resulted in three arrests. The Napa Special Investigations Bureau’s campaign targeting human trafficking in Napa County was  aimed at demand reduction through a “John sting” targeting those soliciting paid sex in Napa. As the result of the sting, NSIB arrested three Napa men,  and many others were identified. NSIB and Vacaville detectives conducted the sting in Napa. The three men were arrested upon arriving at the designated hotel and were booked into the Napa County Department of Corrections (NCDC) on suspicion of solicitation of sex. This operation was made possible through NSIB’s partnership with the Napa Police Department, Napa Sheriff’s Department, Napa County District Attorney’s Office, Vacaville Police Department and Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC).

Some arrests of sex buyers in the county are the result of investigations of specific allegations or police observations of suspicious behavior, rather than the result of proactive stings using police decoys. For example, in January 2012, the Napa County Sheriff’s Office conducted a traffic stop and the uncovered evidence that the driver was paying a prostituted person for sex. The sex buyer subsequently admitted to his misconduct to the Napa County Probation Department.

Key Partners

  • Napa County Sheriff’s Office
    • Special Investigations Bureau
  • Napa Police Department
  • Napa County District Attorney’s Office
  • Vacaville Police Department
  • Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC)


Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Sting, Identity Disclosure:

Other Sex Buyer Arrests:

Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:

State California
Type County
Population 136207
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