State Watch

Teen arrested in connection with GOP strategist’s alleged sex trafficking scheme

A 19-year-old college student has been arrested in connection with an alleged trafficking scheme involving a ​​Minneapolis-based GOP strategist and PAC founder. 

According to jail records, Gisela Castro Medina was booked by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Department in Florida, where a recent Instagram post revealed she had been vacationing. 

The Okaloosa Department of Corrections said that she was on hold to be transferred to the FBI in Minnesota under the same charges federal authorities brought against Anton “Tony” Lazzaro: sex trafficking of a minor, conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and obstruction of justice. 

Records revealed that Castro Medina was denied bond and was released to be transferred to another agency on Friday. 

The indictment released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota on Thursday had listed a second individual charged in the case along with Lazzaro, though the person’s name had been redacted. 

The Hill has reached out to the U.S. attorney’s office for additional information. 

Castro Medina, a student at the Catholic University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, had recently assumed the role of chair of her school’s chapter of the Minnesota College Republicans, the group said in a statement posted on Twitter on Saturday. 

The group’s statewide chair, Nia Moore, said in the press release that she had been informed that Castro Medina “was arrested alongside Anton Lazzaro.” 

“We as an organization are absolutely disgusted by the actions of Ms. Medina, and have cut all ties with her effective immediately,” she added. 

“Our prayers go out to the victims of Anton Lazzaro and Gisela Medina — we believe you,” the College Republicans chair wrote. “We stand with you. May justice be served.” 

It was not immediately clear if Castro Medina has an attorney representing her in the case. 

The Daily Beast on Saturday first reported news of the 19-year-old’s arrest. 

According to the indictment filed this week in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, authorities said Lazzaro allegedly conspired with others to recruit and solicit minors to participate in commercial sex acts. 

Authorities said they seized Lazzaro’s possessions, including his 2010 Ferrari, property at a downtown hotel, $371,240 in cash and multiple electronic devices. 

The 30-year-old man had become a prominent strategist in the Republican Party in recent years, founding the Big Tent Republicans PAC and serving as a campaign manager for GOP candidate Lacy Johnson. 

Lazzaro appeared in court for the first time on Thursday and is expected to return to court for his detention hearing Monday.

Tags Daily Beast federal investigation Florida Indictment Minnesota sex tracking

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