6 ‘Johns’ busted in multi-agency human trafficking sting in Visalia


A multi-agency effort late last week ended in half a dozen human trafficking arrests throughout Visalia. 

The sting focused on “Johns,” also known as men who pay for sex. In many cases, the men and women they pay are trafficked by gangs and groups outside the area. 

Visalia Police Department Special Enforcement Unit, narcotics detectives, TARGET Task-Force, Tulare County District Attorney’s Office, Tulare County Sheriff’s Department and the Tulare Police Department teamed to make the busts. 

Police didn’t release details on how they lured the Johns, but said six were arrested and another person is likely to be charged in connection with Friday’s detail. 

A multi-agency effort late last week ended in half a dozen human trafficking arrests throughout Visalia.

Arrested on Friday were:

  • Gabriel Contreras, 36
  • Song Cho, 26
  • Pedro Arciga- Valero, 29
  • Domingo Aguinaga, 43
  • Luis Torres- Suarez, 35
  • Darren Dowdy, 21

The FBI calls human sex trafficking the most common form of modern-day slavery. As many as 50,000 people, including children, are forced into sex trafficking every year.

Law enforcement officers call it an underground crime. In most cases, it’s a misdemeanor that rarely brings jail time, making it hard to keep recidivism down.



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