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Ventura County Sheriff's Office
Wednesday June 19th, 2019 :: 11:20 a.m. PDT


Human Trafficking Arrests

Nature of Incident: Human Trafficking Arrests
Report Number: 2019-78628
Location: 2400 Block of Hillcrest Drive Newbury Park, California
200 Block of Newbury Drive Newbury Park, California
Date & Time: 06/12/2019 @ 8:00 AM and 11:45 AM
Unit(s) Responsible: Special Crimes – Intelligence Unit, Major Crime Bureau, Thousand Oaks Police Department
(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent

City of Residence

(S) Joseph, Cirsten
(S) Bess, Jovantay
(S) Sherman, Allan
(V) Juvenile Female
Newbury Park, California
Fresno, California
Bakersfield, California
Riverside, California
On June 12, 2019 the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office concluded a month long investigation that led to the arrest of two suspects for Human Trafficking for their involvement in sexually trafficking a 16 year old female in Ventura County.
On May 22, 2019 the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office Anti Human Trafficking Task Force notified the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office of a 16 year old juvenile female that was possibly in Ventura County that was being sexually trafficked by unknown suspect(s).  Investigators quickly narrowed down the juvenile’s location to the Newbury Park area.  Before investigators could locate the juvenile, she left the area.  Investigators determined the juvenile travelled to the Bakersfield area, then to Madera County and later into Fresno.  Ventura County Sheriff’s Office worked closely with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office, Bakersfield Police Department, Madera County Sheriff’s Office and the Fresno Police Department to locate the juvenile over the next two days.  On May 24, 2019 the Madera County Sheriff’s Office was able to locate the juvenile victim and took her into protective custody where she began receiving services.
Ventura County Sheriff’s Office investigators continued with the investigation to determine who was responsible for trafficking the juvenile victim while in Ventura County.  Detectives conducted interviews and served several search warrants throughout the investigation.  Investigators determined the juvenile victim had been in Ventura County on two separate occasions during the month of May 2019.  Investigators identified Jovantay Bess as the person responsible for sexually trafficking the juvenile victim during the first incident in Ventura County and Cirsten Joseph was responsible for trafficking the juvenile victim during the second incident in Ventura County. 
On June 12, 2019 investigators served a search warrant at Joseph’s residence and collected evidence related to the investigation.  Joseph was arrested for his role in trafficking the juvenile victim.  Later that day, investigators located Bess in Newbury Park along with Allan Sherman and two adult females.  It was determined the adult females were involved in prostitution and had been offering sexual services in the City of Ventura.  Sherman initially provided investigators a false name.  Once Sherman’s true identity was determined, he was arrested for providing false information to a peace officer.  Investigators later determined Sherman was involved in pimping and trafficking one of the adult females and was arrested for those offenses.  Sherman was determined to be a gang member from Bakersfield and Bess a gang member from Fresno.  Bess was arrested for his role in trafficking the juvenile victim.  Investigators are still reviewing evidence surrounding the two adult females and their prostitution activities.  Bess was booked into the Ventura County Jail for 236.1(c)(2) PC and his bail was set at $120,000.00.  Joseph was booked into the Ventura County Jail for 236.1(c)(2) PC and his bail was set at $120,000.00.  Sherman was booked into the Ventura County Jail for 236.1(b) PC,148.9(a) PC and 266h PC, his bail was set at $100,000.00. 
On June 14, 2019 Bess and Joseph appeared in Ventura County Superior Court, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office filed 236.1(c)(2) charges against Bess and Joseph.  Sherman appeared in Ventura County Superior Court on June 18, 2019, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office filed a 236.1(b) PC charge against Sherman. The juvenile victim remains in protective custody.        
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office has a dedicated human trafficking investigator assigned to the Special Crimes - Intelligence Unit.  This investigative unit works alongside other investigative units and law enforcement agencies throughout Ventura County and the State of California to investigate Human Trafficking cases and coordinate services for victims of Human Trafficking. 
Prepared by: Sergeant J. Hendren  
News Release Date: 06/17/2019  
Media Follow-Up Contact: Captain Eric Hatlee  805-947-8253
[email protected]
Approved by:
Booking Photo Release:
Captain Bill Schierman
 YES     NO  
Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime.  The caller may remain anonymous.  The call is not recorded.  Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

Ventura County Sheriff's Office
800 S Victoria Ave
Ventura, CA 93003

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 805-654-9511

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