Newport Beach, 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

Newport Beach is a coastal city in Orange County, California, near Los Angeles. Its population is about 87,000.  Prostitution and sex trafficking are prevalent and well documented in the city and surrounding areas. For example, in October, 2020, a woman was charged with one felony count of human trafficking of a victim under the age of 18, one felony count of pimping a prostitute under the age of 16, one felony count of pandering with a minor under the age of 16, one felony count of human trafficking of a victim under the age of 16, one felony count of pimping of a minor over the age of 16, and one felony count of pandering with a minor for the purposes of prostitution. Newport Beach police began investigating the case in October 2019 when a man reported his teenage daughter had inappropriate sexual contact with a sex buyer. Jane Doe #1 told police the woman would take her to meet men, who would pay her to have sex and the woman would take a cut of the money. The trafficker was accused of bringing a second teenage girl to the same sex buyer, who paid the girl to have sex, and the trafficker was also accused of taking a cut of that money. Among the additional crimes generated by the local sex trade have been the homicide of prostituted women.  For example, in August, 2022, a man was convicted of killing an “escort” in a Newport Beach office building the end of 2015. Police had been called just after midnight to an architectural firm’s offices when an “escort service” reported one of its “employees missing,” according to a trial brief filed by a Deputy District Attorney. When officers arrived they encountered a suspect, a driver for the escort service, who had driven the victim to the office and walked her to the door. When the “client” left and the woman did not return, the escort service called police. Police found the victim stuffed in a trash can in a supply closet; she sustained “severe head and facial trauma.” Police found the defendant’s driver’s license at the scene, and they also recovered a semiautomatic pistol. Other crimes occurring during local prostitution transactions have included child endangerment and drug offenses.  For example, in September, 2019, a Newport Beach was arrested and accused of multiple felony and misdemeanor offenses related to “soliciting a prostitute” and possession of drugs, court documents showed. The man was charged with single felony counts of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury — with a sentencing enhancement allegation of inflicting great bodily injury — battery with serious injury and making criminal threats. He was also accused of misdemeanor counts of soliciting, engaging or agreeing to engage in prostitution, child abuse and endangerment, possessing a controlled substance and paraphernalia and possessing methamphetamine and cocaine.

To address the consumer demand that drives all such crimes related to the sex trade, there have been several sting operations in Newport Beach targeting sex buyers who have solicited undercover officers for prostitution.  These stings usually involve:

  1. Police placing a false ad in publications such as craigslist or OC Weekly
  2. The ad has a designated phone number for the buyers to call
  3. Police rent a hotel room where the undercover female officer agrees to meet the sex buyers
  4. Police rent an additional room nearby where the law enforcement team sets up their sting operation (including devices to monitor recordings, an area to book the people they arrest)
  5. The operations usually involve close to 10 law enforcement officers

A large scale web-based reverse sting that included 11 Orange County law enforcement agencies (including Newport News PD) led to 56 arrests and the rescue of 16 victims just before Super Bowl Sunday, in February 2022. Deemed “Operation Red Zone,” agencies conducted investigative techniques – undercover operations, investigating online-based sex solicitation websites and investigations into known problematic businesses – to find and arrest the men, ages 20 to 55, officials with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said.

Convictions for violating California Penal Code section 647(b) requires the District Attorney to prove the following:

  1. The defendant agreed to engage in an act of prostitution with someone else
  2. The defendant intended to engage in an act of prostitution with that person  AND
  3. In addition to agreeing, the defendant did something to further the commission of an act of prostitution

The crime of prostitution is a “specific intent” crime, and the prosecutor has the burden of proving the sex buyer specifically intended to engage in an act of sex exchanged for money.

Key Partners

  • Newport Beach Police Department
  • Orange County District Attorney’s Office
  • Orange County District Sheriff’s Office

Key Sources

Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Web-Based Reverse Stings:

Arrest of Sex Buyer; Identity Disclosure:

Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:

Local Prostitution-Related Violence, Drug Offenses, Child Endangerment:

State California
Type City
Population 86694
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