(KRON) — Two residents of the North Bay were arrested as part of Operation Cross Country, a nationwide operation targeting suspects willing to pay juveniles for sex and victims of child sex trafficking. The San Rafael Police Department said the arrests had been made in cooperation with the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, Novato Police Department, Central Marin Police Authority, Marin County District Attorney’s Office and the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center.
In the North Bay, two men were arrested during the operation, San Rafael PD said, and one adult sex worker was provided with resources.
The suspects arrested requested via phone calls and text messages to engage in sex acts with minors in exchange for money. One of the men arrested arrived at a location after agreeing to meet with a minor for sex. Another arrived after agreeing to meet with an adult for sex.
The first man, Simeon Ramirez-Lopez, 25, of San Rafael, was booked into the Marin County Jail for arranging to meet a minor for sex. Police said he communicated with who he thought was a 15-year-old minor “with the intent to perform specific sex acts.”
The second suspect, Fredy Paxtor, 48, of Greenbrae, was arrested and released on a citation for arranging to meet an adult with the intent to engage in sex.
The operation also focused on locating child victims of human trafficking, police said. A female from the Vacaville area believed to be a minor responded to an arranged location with the intent to perform sexual acts for payments. However, investigators determined the woman was an adult who was not working against her will. She was provided with resources and released.
Operation Cross Country is part of the FBI’s Innocence Lost National Initiative and was launched in 2003. Since its creation, the program has resulted in the identification and recovery of more than 6,000 children from sex trafficking. Prosecutors have also obtained 30 life sentences in cases against traffickers and their associates.