Hemet woman charged with human trafficking
ONTARIO — A 27-year-old Hemet woman is in custody and a 15-year-old girl was rescued during a multi-county, multi-agency, human trafficking investigation Tuesday, Feb. 26. The suspect, Christina Lister, remains in custody and the rescued victim has been returned to the care and custody of the San Bernardino County Department of Family Services.
Officials strongly believe the Hemet resident may have been victimizing other young girls and have asked anyone with information about her alleged criminal activities to come forward.
LEADING THE RCNS HEADLINES:
Lister and her teenage victim, who has not been identified due to her age, became the focus of a human trafficking investigation after San Bernardino County Task Force members were contacted by investigators from the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force with information regarding a possible minor victim being trafficked in the San Bernardino County area.
San Bernardino County Task Force members began an investigation and soon developed leads and gathered information that led them to a motel in the 1400 Block of E. 4th St. The motel is just minutes from Ontario’s Airport and Convention Center.
In addition to other information developed by investigators, Task Force members also located an internet escort advertisement, “believed to be advertising the victim for purposes of prostitution,” Task Force officials later explained.
Based on that information, an undercover operation was initiated with the intention of identifying, locating, and rescuing the young victim. On Tuesday, Feb. 26, investigators and City of Ontario police officers responded to the motel, where they contacted two females; including the 15-year-old victim and a second woman, later identified as Lister.
As their investigation continued, Task Force investigators determined the minor “was a victim of the commercial sex industry, and was being actively trafficked by the second female, Lister,” explained officials.
After being rescued, the teenager was taken to a local hospital for a medical evaluation and then safely released to the custody of the San Bernardino County Department of Family Services.
SEE OTHER RECENT HEMET AND SAN JACINTO HUMAN SEX TRAFFICKING CASES:
Lister was transported to the Rancho Cucamonga Police Department and interviewed by investigators. Based on their investigation, Task Force members arrested Lister and she was booked into the West Valley Detention Center on suspicion of human trafficking of a minor and pandering. She is being held in lieu of $150,000 bail.
According to Million Kids President and CEO Opal Singleton, human trafficking is the fastest growing crime in the US and California is the number one state for sex trafficking cases.
“All too often these predators lure in innocent young people who have little understanding of grooming and recruitment and they fall prey to pimps and predators who take advantage of them,” Singleton, who serves as the Training and Outreach Coordinator for the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, recently explained to RCNS.
“It is believed that one of six youth who run away will be victims of human trafficking within the first 48 hours,” said Singleton.
The investigation is ongoing; however, investigators believe there are other unidentified victims related to this case and are asking that anyone who is or was being victimized by Lister or others to step forward.
Anyone with information related to this investigation is strongly urged to immediately contact Sr. Inv. C. Miller or Dep. G. Deloria of the San Bernardino County Human Trafficking Task Force at (909) 387-8400. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may contact We-Tip at 1-888-78-CRIME or you may leave information on the WE-Tip Hotline at www.wetip.com. Callers can refer to incident file number 621900084 and can remain anonymous.
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Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.
Trevor 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, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with 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, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.