Rescue of teenager trafficked into U.S. facilitated by texting 911 and providing detailed location information

A 17-year-old girl, who was allegedly trafficked into the United States from Mexico, has been rescued by authorities in Southern California. Thanks to her quick thinking, she was able to text for help and provide enough information about the landmarks around her location for the police to locate her. As a result, a man has been arrested in connection with the case.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Communication Center in California was alerted to a distressing text message in the early hours of Thursday, April 9. According to a news release by the sheriff’s department, the texter, who was communicating in Spanish, reached out for help. Despite not knowing her exact location, the texter provided crucial details such as landmarks and other identifiable information. The dispatcher promptly relayed this information to the deputies stationed at the Ojai Sheriff’s Sub-Station, initiating immediate action.

The deputies wasted no time and immediately initiated a search in the Casita Springs area. Remarkably, within a mere 20 minutes, they successfully located the individual who had sent the text message.

Authorities have identified the texter as a 17-year-old girl, but her name and hometown have not been disclosed to the public.

According to officials, an investigation revealed that the girl had been trafficked into California approximately two months ago. Following evaluation, she was transferred to Ventura County Child Family Services, where she will remain until she can be reunited with her family. It is unclear whether the girl has family in the U.S. or when the reunion is expected to take place.

A suspect in the case, Gerardo Cruz of Veracruz, Mexico, was identified by the girl. Deputies swiftly located and arrested Cruz, who is 31 years old.

According to online records, Cruz is currently being held at the Todd Road Jail on a bail of $500,000. His next court appearance is scheduled for May 22.

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