Human trafficking investigation leads to arrest of man who paid 15-year-old for sex act, police say

A 29-year-old La Puente man was arrested Friday in a human trafficking investigation, police said. He’s accused of paying a 15-year-old girl to perform a sex act.

John Ward Herrera was taken into custody about 12:30 p.m. on suspicion of lewd act with a child, prostitution and oral copulation with a minor, according to the Long Beach Police Department.

Herrera was identified during an investigation that began when two people accused of trafficking the teen were arrested Feb 6. during a traffic stop, police said.

Officers pulled over the man and woman about 9 a.m. near Pacific Coast Highway and Lemon Avenue for not having license plates and noticed the girl sitting in the back seat.

Officers discovered the driver, 27-year-old Reson Richard, who was on post-release community supervision and is a registered sex offender, did not have a license, police said.

The passenger, 21-year-old Samantha Davis, also had an outstanding warrant for suspicion of prostitution, according to police.

Vice detectives who were called to the scene determined Richard was in violation of multiple conditions of his release from jail, and “the investigation revealed both the male and female adult suspects were trafficking the female juvenile victim,” the department said.

Richard and Davis were arrested on suspicion of human trafficking of a minor, pimping and pandering, police said.

The girl was placed into the custody of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.

Herrera is accused of using a commercial sex website to contact the teen, then paying her to perform a sex act outside his home, police said. He is being held on $100,000 bail.

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