DESERT HOT SPRINGS: Man arrested, accused of human trafficking of a minor
DESERT HOT SPRINGS – A man accused of trafficking at least one juvenile for the purpose of sexual exploitation was arrested in the 12800 block of Maui Way in Desert Hot Springs Nov. 3. Investigators believe there are possibly additional victims who have not yet been identified and their investigation is ongoing, according to sheriff officials.
Members of the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RCAHT) arrested Cerious Mark Anthony Griffin, 24, of Desert Hot Springs, for an outstanding felony warrant on charges relating to the commercial sexual exploitation of a 17-year-old female, according to Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant John Sawyer.
RCAHT officials served the arrest warrant, that was the culmination of a nearly three-month long investigation. The task force’s investigation determined the victim conducted prostitution at Griffin’s direction during the months of July and August, 2016.
During this two-month time span the victim was sexually trafficked using social media and online advertisements in the areas of Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs, Los Angeles, Compton, Palmdale, and Lancaster, according to Sawyer.
“The victim in this case has since been recovered and reunited with her family,” Sawyer explained in a press release about the investigation and arrest.
Griffin was booked into the Riverside County Jail in Indio where he is being held without bail for charges related to human trafficking of a minor and other charges.
RCAHT investigators believe that Griffin used social media in an attempt to recruit additional victims. Griffin used Facebook under the screen name “Ceejay Forever-foreign.” An internet search revealed his Facebook account is still active. Many young girls from throughout Riverside, San Bernardino and Los Angeles Counties are connected to his Facebook as friends.
A jail records search revealed Griffin was booked into the Riverside County Jail in Indio for suspicion of false imprisonment, pimping, procuring a person with the intention of prostitution and possession of stolen property. He is being held without bail and is scheduled to be arraigned at the Larson Justice Center in Indio Monday, Nov. 7.
“The investigation of this incident is continuing,” Sawyer wrote.
The task force has encouraged anyone who may have additional information about this case, or who may have had contact with Griffin through social media to come forward and speak with investigators.
“The Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force was formed in 2010 to address crimes involving the exploitation of victims via force, fraud, or coercion,” Sawyer explained. “These cases often involve the commercial sex trafficking of children, as well as incidents of forced labor, indentured servitude, debt bondage, or slavery.”
“The RCAHT Task Force is a multidisciplinary task force which combines the investigative resources of both local and federal law enforcement,” Sawyer wrote. “The RCAHT Task Force also provides victim services and education/outreach through partnerships with the non-profit groups Operation SafeHouse and Million Kids.”
The law enforcement component of RCAHT is currently composed of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Riverside County District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations, the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with part-time participation of the Hemet and Riverside Police Departments.
Anyone with information about this incident or arrest is encouraged to contact Senior District Attorney Investigator Ian Anderson at (951) 955-1700, or via email at IAnderson@RivCoDA.org. Callers can refer to incident file number R162020013 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s CrimeTips online form.
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Trevor Montgomery spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg in an off-duty accident.
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including the Robert Presley Detention Center, the Southwest Station in Temecula, the Hemet Station, and the Lake Elsinore Station, along with many other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, Personnel and Background Investigations and he finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator.
Trevor has been married for more than 26 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 12 – soon to be 13 – grandchildren.