|Trio jailed for human trafficking
The Cotati Police Dept., with assistance from the detectives from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, this morning arrested three Cotati residents on a number of charges, including human trafficking and pimping a minor over the age of 16.
At approximately 11 a.m. today, Cotati police officers and detectives from the Sheriff’s Office’s Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Unit, served search and arrest warrants at the suspects’ residence.
While serving the warrant, Abdelaziz Thomas, 38, and April Thomas, 19, were located and arrested for outstanding warrants. The other suspect, Arthur Thomas, 20, already was in custody at the Sonoma County Main Adult Detention Facility on other unrelated charges. His arrest warrant was served by detention facility staff.
“With the assistance of the District Attorney’s office, the Sheriff’s Office as well as other county agencies, the listed suspects were thankfully located and arrested,” Cotati Chief Mike Parish said. “My main concern is the well-being of the victim in this case and providing her with whatever resources she may need.”
This case was initiated when a 16-year-old girl, accompanied by her mother, reported that over a three-month period, she had been trafficked throughout California and into Arizona by the three suspects to perform sexual acts for money. The money was given to the suspects.
The victim also told authorities she had sexual intercourse multiple times Abdelaziz Thomas.
The Cotati Police also believe several other young women were victimized by this trio. Also, they are investigating others for possible involvement. Law enforcement officials also are looking into those who paid for the sex. It is believed the trio used escort websites such as myredbook.com to advertise the girls. The subsequently took them to motel rooms around the Bay Area and beyond to meet with clients, with the three suspects keeping all the money.
Cotati Officer Eric Bilcich, specially trained interviewers from the Redwood Children’s Center and a detective from the Sheriff’s Office conducted an extensive investigation, upon which the search and arrest warrants were obtained.
Abdelaziz was booked into Sonoma County Jail on charges of human trafficking, pimping a minor over 16, sodomy on a person under 18, a threat to commit a crime (terrorize) and sex with a minor. His bail was set at $300,000. Arthur and April Thomas both were booked for human trafficking and pimping a minor over 16. Their bail is $150,000.
This case remains under investigation, and anyone with additional information is encouraged to call the Cotati Police Dept. at (707) 792-4611.