2 arrested, 1 sought for human trafficking in Palm Desert

(Riverside County Sheriff's Department)
(Riverside County Sheriff's Department)
(Riverside County Sheriff’s Department)

Police arrested two people on Monday and are looking for another in connection with the sex trafficking of a 15-year-old Moreno Valley girl. Authorities say the girl was abducted and then prostituted from a a Palm Desert apartment.

The Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force and deputies from the sheriff’s station in Palm Desert served a search warrant at an apartment on California Drive at 8 a.m. Wednesday, reports The Desert Sun.

According to police, Brandon Ellison, 27, of Palm Desert, and Dejuan Lewis, 31, abducted the girl near the Moreno Valley Mall in March, 2015. They then drove her to the Palm Desert apartment, took photos of her, and used the photos – which were illicit – in online ads for prostitution.

Ashley Gonzalez, 24, then “taught (the girl) how to conduct prostitution.”  The girl was given a daily quota and police say that the victim was abused physically and sexually if she did not meet that quota, according to KESQ.

The Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force began investigating the girl after she escaped in May of 2015 and told authorities what was going on.

Ellison was arrested on suspicion of human trafficking of a minor, pimping of a minor, and abduction of a minor for prostitution purposes. Gonzalez is being held on “charges related to this case.”

Police have issued a felony warrant for Lewis and ask anyone with any information on his location to call police immediately.