10 men arrested for child sex crimes in Merced, 1 facing charges for trafficking 14-year-old

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A man is behind bars for trafficking a 14-year-old girl, while nine others were arrested for making arrangements to have sex with a minor. (KFSN)

A man is behind bars for trafficking a 14-year-old girl, while nine others were arrested for making arrangements to have sex with a minor.

Police said 22-year-old Daniel Luzania after police found an ad for the young girl online and arranged to meet her.

"The guy who was pimping her out was with her hiding in the bathroom at the time they made an arrangement to meet," said Captain Matt Williams, Merced Police Department.

Williams said this arrest happened coincidentally around the same time the DART team was finishing up a sting.

Police said these nine men responded to an officer posing as a young girl online. They say the men sent harmful material, and even arranged a meeting with the girl even after they found out she was underage.

Police said the DART team has been diligently working on human trafficking cases in the city and said they usually see more of it happening when neighboring areas crack down on the issue.

"We're going to put everything we have, as far as resources, into those cases, and try to get the best convictions we can get," said Williams.

Deputy District Attorney Ilia McKinney said while they do not have any grants specifically to focus on human trafficking, they often work with the Dart team and other agencies to tackle the issue.

"We meet with them regularly and try to keep on top of cases that are being investigated-- things we can do to try to locate more victims, and stay on top of the progress of the case once we've filed it in our office."

One of those agencies is the Valley Crisis Center, coordinators say between July of 2016 and the end of March in 2017 they have had more than 30 sex trafficking cases, and one labor trafficking case in the area.

"Those were the ones that were reported-- there are so many that are unreported that we don't touch base on because they're not reported," said Lynna Cano, Valley Crisis Center.

Coordinators said their resources are limited in Merced County, but they do offer counseling, restraining order services and court support for victims.

McKinney said the 22-year-old arrested currently faces two felony charges for human trafficking of a minor, and pimping of a minor victim under the age of 16.
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