NEWBURY PARK (CBSLA) — Three known gang members have been arrested and charged in connection with selling a 16-year-old girl from the Riverside area for sex in Ventura County.
Cirsten Joseph, 26, of Newbury Park; Jovantay Bess, 23, of Fresno; and Allan Sherman, 29, of Bakersfield, were arrested by Ventura County Sheriff’s investigators checking into a tip from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force that a 16-year-old girl was being sold for sex in the area.
Investigators narrowed down the girl’s location to the Newbury Park area on May 22, but before they could find her, she left the area. She was tracked to the Bakersfield area, Madera County and later into Fresno before she was found on May 24 and taken into protective custody.
The girl was advertised for sex on two separate occasions last month in the Ventura County area, according to Ventura County sheriff’s spokesman Capt. Eric Hatlee. Bess was identified as having sold her in the first incident, while Joseph was found responsible for selling her in the second incident, he said.
Joseph was arrested on June 12 and his home searched for evidence connected to the investigation. Bess, a gang member from Fresno, was later found in Newbury Park, along with Sherman and two unidentified women.
Authorities say the women were determined to be prostitutes offering sexual services in Ventura, with Sherman acting as their pimp and trafficker. Sherman, a gang member from Bakersfield, was also arrested and investigators are reviewing the evidence in connection with the two women and their prostitution activities.
All three men arrested in connection with human trafficking. Bess and Joseph are being held on $120,000 bail each. Sherman was also charged with providing a false name to investigators and is being held on $100,000 bail.