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Tulare man sentenced for human trafficking

Tulare man sentenced for human trafficking

Myron Johnson, 21, trafficked four young girls before being caught by police in January 2012

@TheSunGazette

VISALIA – A Tulare man who trafficked young girls between here and Southern California will spend the next 30 years in prison.  

Myron Johnson
21 years old

On Monday, June 17, Tulare County Superior Court Judge Juliet Boccone sentenced Myron Johnson, 21, to 30 years and 8 months in prison for human trafficking. On May 30, 2019, Johnson pleaded no contest to four felony counts of human trafficking of a minor. In addition to his sentence, Johnson must register as a sex offender for life. Johnson possesses a 2016 strike for assault with great bodily injury. 

Johnson was arrested on Jan. 20, 2017 after one of his victims escaped a home in Visalia where Johnson had been selling her for sex. The girl stated that Johnson had threatened to kill her and use other physical violence if she did not perform the sex acts. Visalia Police officers located Johnson at a Visalia motel and took him into custody later that same day.

Through investigation, officers from the Tulare Police Department, the Visalia Police Department, and the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigations began to link Johnson to other victims of sex trafficking in the area. 

Earlier that month, law enforcement were investigating a missing Tulare girl when the girl’s mother contacted Tulare Police Department officers with the belief that her daughter was being sold for sex. Using information provided by the mother, officers discovered the girl on Backpage.com, a now defunct escort website frequented by human traffickers that advertised sexual encounters. 

On Jan. 12, 2017 the Tulare girl was located during a traffic stop along with another victim in Tulare. The victims eventually confided that Johnson would coordinate with “customers” and sell them for sex via text message from Backpage advertisements. Johnson would keep all money made from these arrangements. 

In all, law enforcement located four total victims, with each being under the age of 18. Some of the victims were trafficked as far away as San Bernardino. Family Services of Tulare County provided services to the victims. 

“Human trafficking is real, and it happens here. I commend the work of law enforcement and prosecutors for never letting up in connecting the dots of this complex case and bringing these victims justice,” said Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward. “Human trafficking is a crime that hides in plain sight. If you suspect trafficking, call local law enforcement or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1 (888) 373-7888.” 

The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office is a member of the Tulare County Human Trafficking Task Force. The Task Force was established in 2014 to bring law enforcement and community stakeholders together to identify victims of all forms of trafficking, deliver services to those victims, and lead to the successful investigation and prosecution of traffickers. 

In 2016, the Task Force began receiving funding from the United States Department of Justice to continue its mission of investigation, prosecution, victim service, and awareness. Learn more at www.stoptraffickingtc.wordpress.com. 

This case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Stacy Plantier and was investigated by Detective German Barrios of the Tulare Police Department, Officer Sean Schibelhut of the Visalia Police Department, and Criminal Investigator Martha Rodriguez of the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigations.

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