U.S. Attorney Wagner Announces Selection of Sacramento for Phase II Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team
SACRAMENTO, CA—Today, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced the selection of Sacramento in the Eastern District of California as one of only six locations from across the United States designated to form new federal task forces as part of the Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team (ACTeam) Initiative, an interagency federal law enforcement initiative aimed at streamlining the investigation and prosecution of federal human trafficking offenses.
U.S. Attorney Wagner’s announcement follows the joint announcement of Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, and Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez earlier today designating the following cities as Phase II ACTeam sites: Cleveland, Ohio; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Newark, New Jersey; Portland, Maine; Portland, Oregon; and Sacramento, California. Sacramento was selected based on the commitment to identifying, investigating and prosecuting forced labor, international sex trafficking, and adult sex trafficking; the prevalence or suspected prevalence of these types of trafficking in the Sacramento area; and levels of cooperation among various law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to combat human trafficking.
U.S. Attorney Wagner stated: “Consistent with the direction provided by the Attorney General, the investigation and prosecution of all forms of human trafficking is a top priority for our office. We are proud of our outstanding record of prosecuting various child exploitation offenses, and we are committed to continuing and enhancing our critical work in the identification and prosecution of offenses related to forced labor, international sex trafficking, and adult sex trafficking. I am pleased by our selection as an ACTeam location, which reflects the hard work we’ve already done in this area and will assist us in doing even more.”
ACTeams are aimed at developing high-impact human trafficking investigations and prosecutions involving forced labor, international sex trafficking, and sex trafficking of adults by force, fraud, and coercion, complementing Project Safe Childhood and related efforts aimed at combating child sexual exploitation, including child sex trafficking. ACTeams bring together federal prosecutors and federal agents from multiple federal investigative agencies to develop and implement proactive anti-trafficking case identification, investigation, and prosecution strategies in close coordination with one another and with national anti-trafficking subject matter experts. Over the next two years, teams are expected to develop high-impact federal investigations and prosecutions, dismantle human-trafficking networks, vindicate the rights of human-trafficking victims and bring traffickers to justice. The new EDCA team will consist of personnel from Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the U.S. Department of Labor.
During Phase I of the ACTeam Initiative, Phase I Pilot ACTeams were convened in Atlanta, Georgia; El Paso, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; Los Angeles, California; Memphis, Tennessee; and Miami, Florida. Phase I proved highly successful, with ACTeam Districts collectively increasing prosecutions by 119 percent, compared to 35 percent nationwide during the same two-year period.
Based on the outstanding results of Phase I, Attorney General Lynch, Secretary of Homeland Security Johnson, and Secretary of Labor Perez launched Phase II on June 25, 2015, by soliciting joint applications from United States Attorneys’ Offices and their federal law enforcement partners nationwide.
The locations for Phase II were selected by unanimous consensus of the Federal Enforcement Working Group after a rigorous, competitive and nationwide selection process. The group includes subject matter experts from the Department of Justice (including the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys and the FBI’s Civil Rights Unit); the Department of Homeland Security (including ICE and Homeland Security Investigations’ Human Smuggling and Trafficking Unit); and the Department of Labor (including the Office of the Inspector General and the Wage and Hour Division).
The Attorney General has declared efforts to bring human traffickers to justice and to restore the lives of human trafficking survivors be among the highest priorities of the Department of Justice.
The Eastern District of California has an accomplished history of prosecuting cases involving the sex trafficking of minors. Recent developments in such cases include: On December 14, 2015, Tyrell Richmond, 33, of Visalia, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a minor. On September 10, 2015, a federal grand jury in Sacramento charged Jeremy Ray Warren, 22, of Vallejo, and Alyssa Tegan Brulez, 22, of Vacaville, with sex trafficking of children, and brought a separate indictment charging Jarrail Lamont Smith, 23, of Cleveland, Ohio, with transportation of minors with intent to engage in prostitution. On August 24, 2015, Javier Solis, 30, of Fresno, was sentenced to 11 years and nine months in prison for sex trafficking of a minor. On August 18, 2015, Michael Anthony Andrade, 35, of Fresno, was sentenced to 12 years and seven months in prison for sex trafficking of a minor.