Patterson detective Cooper again spearheads the Operation Reclaim and Rebuild effort in this area
Detective Cooper and other officers working at the Patterson substation again organized Operation Reclaim and Rebuild in Stanislaus County, which took place on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, and netted 30 arrests and four firearms in two neighboring cities.
Fifteen of those arrests occurred in Salida; the remainder were in Turlock.
Perhaps most importantly, a trafficking victim was rescued during the local operation.
In addition to Patterson detectives, Stanislaus County Custodial Deputies; Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department Main Office; deputies from the contract cities of Patterson, Riverbank and Waterford; the District Attorney’s Office; Stanislaus County Probation; the Turlock Police Department; California Highway Patrol; California Department of Fish & Game; Los Banos Police Department and State Parole were participated. The Haven Women’s Shelter was involved, as well.
“There was a lot bigger turnout of law enforcement in this area this time around,” Det. Cooper said Tuesday night. He attributed that to, “awareness, training and cooperation.”
Fish & Game wanted to be involved in a law enforcement capacity, Cooper said, adding, “They’re cops, too. The cooperation among all the agencies involved was wonderful.”
The involvement of Warden Jeff Moran of the Department of Fish & Game came about as a result of cooperation between that department and Det. Cooper. While working on a different case, Moran said, Det. Cooper came across some photos of poaching activity in this area, and contacted him. In the process, Moran said, “he told me about the operation he runs and asked if I wanted to be a part of it sometime.” The opportunity came about during the sting last weekend.
Moran served previously as a Sheriff’s deputy in Merced County, he said, and began working for the Department of Fish & Game here about three years ago. “We’re state law enforcement like the CHP, but we specialize in fishing, hunting and the environment (pollution),” he explained.
“Interagency cooperation goes a long way when we need a hand, so I try to be as involved as possible. The operation ran very smoothly,” Moran said. He expressed surprise at “how prevalent this kind of activity is within our communities.”
Moran added that the operation produced some “very good cases. I think it was very productive. I’m hoping it will deter this sort of activity.”
Patterson detectives on Tuesday conducted a follow-up investigation, and arrested an additional suspect on charges of pandering and failure to register as sex offender. He also had an outstanding warrant, Cooper said.
Cooper described the female victim who was rescued as a “true victim,” and said she was willing to accept help right away.
Unfortunately, trafficking victims often don’t see themselves as such, so it can be very difficult to convince them to accept help to get out of the situation they are in. And the longer it goes on, the less likely it is that they’ll accept help. “We got to her very quickly, thank goodness,” Cooper said.
The following were arrested on prostitution-related charges. Additional charges are listed as appropriate. Suspects in custody as noted.
Albizo, Salomon, possessing loaded firearm in public
Celaya, Sabrina, obstructing a peace officer
Folliott, Dennis, supervising / aiding / recruiting for prostitution
Lewis, Kishaun, pimping, burglary; in custody as of 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5. Bail shown as $351,000.
Lozano, Candice, narcotics
McGuire, Nicole, warrants; in custody as of 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5. Listed as no bail.
Pratt, Forrest, brandishing a firearm, assault, supervising / aiding / recruiting for prostitution, parole violation, arrest warrants; in custody as of 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5. Listed as no bail.
Steeley, Laurie, committing crime while out on bail
Wilson, Jessica, parole violation; in custody as of 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5. Listed as no bail.
Also arrested on Tuesday was Keith Maddox, on charges of pandering, failure to register as a sex offender, and an outstanding warrant. Maddox pleaded no contest to a charge of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 in a case in 2016. He was listed as being in custody as of 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 5. Total bail amount was listed as $410,500.
Statewide, officers made a total of 518 arrests, including 266 individuals who solicited illegal acts, 27 people for pimping, pandering or supervising, and 190 others for commercial sex work, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Authorities rescued 87 victims, including 11 minors, the agency said.