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Several arrested following years-long federal human trafficking investigation

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Posted at 8:33 AM, Jan 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 19:58:12-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The Bakersfield Police Department arrested three people Friday morning at the Desert Star Motel on Union Avenue following a nearly 2-year-long multi-agency human trafficking investigation.

According to BPD, Curtis Moore, 43, of Bakersfield, was arrested for state charges of felon in possession of a firearm and gang participation. Moore is due in court on Tuesday, according to a Kern County inmate database.

Two adults associated with the operation of the motel were arrested for federal law violations related to the human trafficking investigation and three firearms were obtained.

“I commend the work of law enforcement during this investigation into human traffickers at the Desert Star Motel, which operated as a modern-day brothel," said Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer.

Additionally, the arrest of Javonne Lewis on January 15, and the rescue of the juvenile victim, was directly related to this ongoing investigation, which began in April of 2019. The operation was conduction in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Parole Division of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

“The predators involved in human trafficking prey on our most vulnerable populations. They utilize fraud, violence, and other coercive tactics to target victims,” said Chief Greg Terry. “We will continue to aggressively investigate and bring to justice those who profit off of this horrible form of abuse."

The Kern County DA's Office will partner with the U.S. Attorney’s office on the cases resulting from this investigation.