LASD News

LA Regional Human Trafficking Task Force Arrest


#LASD Human Trafficking Bureau - SEXUAL EXPLOITATION ARREST MADE

On Monday, September 24, 2018, Investigators from the LASD Human Trafficking Bureau, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested JONATHAN SANDOVAL-LEPE at his home in Long Beach. The arrest stemmed from a year-long investigation which began in September of 2017, when Sheriff’s Detectives from the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, operating in an undercover capacity, obtained child pornography from Sandoval-Lepe, over the internet. A search warrant was subsequently served at Sandoval-Lepe’s Long Beach home, where he was found in possession of child pornography. During questioning, Sandoval-Lepe implicated himself in the molestation of a child in Mexico, during his travels. Electronic devices, belonging to the suspect were seized and forensically analyzed.

With the assistance of the FBI, the victim and her parents were located and interviewed regarding the crimes. The victim was between 12 and 16 years of age during the molestation. The case was referred to the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) in Los Angeles for criminal prosecution. On Friday, September 21, 2018, the Federal Grand Jury returned a five count indictment against JONATHAN SANDOVAL-LEPE for Production, Receipt and Possession of Child Pornography, Travelling with intent to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct and Illicit Sexual Conduct in a Foreign Country (Mexico).

Sandoval-Lepe is scheduled to appear in Federal Court in downtown Los Angeles today for a bail hearing. Trial was scheduled for October 6, 2018. If convicted on all counts, Sandoval-Lepe faces 130 years in custody and lifetime supervised release.

The FBI is a co-located member of the LA Regional Human Trafficking Task Force and works criminal cases in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

For additional information contact:
Thom Mrozek – Public Affairs Office United States Attorney’s Office 213-894-6947 
Captain Kent A. Wegener – LASD/LA Regional Human Trafficking Task Force 323-526-5156

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Human Trafficking Bureau at (323) 526-5156. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call "Crime Stoppers" by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile APP on Google play or the Apple App Store or by using the websitehttp://lacrimestoppers.org/

The Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Human Trafficking Bureau houses the LA Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, the nation’s largest co-located human trafficking task force. The Task Force is a collaboration of federal, state, county and local law enforcement, social service agency and non-government and community-based organizations investigating and serving the needs of commercially exploited adults and minors victimized for the purpose of sex and labor. 
The LA Regional Human Trafficking Task Force brings together systems and disciplines to address the victim’s needs through a victim centered, trauma informed approach. The task force employs a regionalized strategy that crosses jurisdictional boundaries to identify and rescue victims while aggressively pursuing traffickers and buyers.