Nearly 160 people arrested at ‘super-spreader’ party in LA County, sex trafficking victim recovered

Los Angeles Sheriff's Department

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced this week that it broke up a “massive super-spreader” party in Los Angeles County and recovered an alleged minor victim of sex trafficking. 

The department said in a Tuesday statement that it shut down the party in Palmdale, Calif., on Saturday and arrested 158 individuals, including 116 adults and 35 minors, for violating health orders amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

Law enforcement officials said they rescued a 17-year-old in the operation who was reportedly a victim of human trafficking and connected the minor with victim services.

The sheriff’s department also said that they arrested the “organizing network” of the large party and confiscated six firearms. The event was held at a vacant house. 

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva called the event “a flagrant violation” of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s health orders banning large gatherings, mandating face coverings and more. 

But Villanueva in a Tuesday press conference also called on local and state elected officials to allow law enforcement officers to focus on large, potentially super-spreader events during the pandemic as opposed to restaurants and businesses that violate health orders.

“We don’t have unlimited resources,” Villanueva told reporters Tuesday. “This is something that is worth spending our resources to clamp down on because these super-spreader events. If we get rid of them, we’re going to improve our ability to fight the pandemic on a whole scale.”

He added that at least a half a dozen of these kinds of events are occurring on a “weekly basis” in Los Angeles County.

Los Angeles County and others areas of California entered a stay-at-home order on Sunday in an effort to reduce COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state. The orders went into effect after intensive care unit capacity dropped below 15 percent in Southern California and other parts of the state.

Tags California Coronavirus COVID-19 Gavin Newsom sex trafficking

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