SAN DIEGO — Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the arrest of three individuals as part of an ongoing investigation into a sex trafficking case in San Diego. The joint investigation and operation, “Operation Hotel Tango,” was conducted by the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force, which includes the California Department of Justice and 18 local and federal law enforcement agencies.
“Human traffickers exploit vulnerable children and adults, subjecting their victims to manipulation, violence, and unspeakable cruelty while forcing them into labor and prostitution,” said Attorney General Kamala D. Harris. “I thank our law enforcement partners in the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force and our California Department of Justice Special Agents for working diligently and collaboratively to protect victims of trafficking and hold accountable those who profit from the insidious crime of human trafficking.”
Tyrone Evans, 40, in San Diego County was arrested and charged on 22 felony counts of human trafficking, pimping and pandering. Lila Leflorsm, 36, and Natasha McElrath, 37, were also arrested in connection with the operation and are suspected of using social media to recruit teenage women and negotiate transactions.
Through the investigation, law enforcement discovered that Tyrone Evans was involved in the sex trafficking of several women in San Diego County and across the country. Evans utilized social media websites to recruit and exploit his human trafficking victims.
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery where perpetrators profit from the control and exploitation of individuals, including men, women, children, adults, immigrants, or U.S. citizens. The California Department of Justice's 2012 report “The State of Human Trafficking in California,”confirmed that California is one of the states most affected by human trafficking, due in part to its proximity to the U.S. southwest border, its robust economy, and a large immigrant population.
The San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force (HTTF) was formed in January 2015 with the goal of rescuing victims, holding their captors accountable, and promoting community awareness. The Task Force takes a collaborative and regional approach to effectively meet the threat posed by human traffickers who are increasingly organized and sophisticated.
The Task Force is composed of 19 local, state and federal agencies, including the California Department of Justice, California Highway Patrol, Chula Vista Police Department, Coronado Police Department, Escondido Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Internal Revenue Service, La Mesa Police Department, Oceanside Police Department, San Diego City Attorney's Office, San Diego County District Attorney's Office, San Diego County Probation Department, San Diego County Sheriff's Department, San Diego Police Department, U.S. Attorney's Office, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Marshals Service.
The San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force have referred Evans' victims to victim advocate groups in order to assist them in accessing housing, counseling, drug treatment, job training and other social services.
Victims of human trafficking are encouraged to call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center toll free, 24/7 Hotline: CALL 888-373-7888 or TEXT BeFree or 233733.
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris / Monday, June 20, 2016