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Police arrest man for trafficking

A Patterson man previously arrested in Turlock for human trafficking was apprehended again on Tuesday for allegedly trafficking the same victim, according to the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department.

The suspect, Alex Santana, 24, was in possession of a loaded firearm when he was arrested Tuesday outside a Ceres motel. He made an attempt to flee from detectives but was quickly caught.

Santana was first arrested for human trafficking on Jan. 27, as part of the statewide operation Reclaim and Rebuild. He was found in Turlock with a 19-year-old woman who he was trafficking for sex, according to the sheriff’s department. He was arrested on suspicion of pimping, procuring a person for prostitution and a parole violation. At the time of his January arrest, Santana was on parole for a carjacking in May 2022.

Santana has multiple convictions for carjacking and possession of a firearm.

Sheriff’s detectives discovered an online sex ad with the same 19-year-old woman around the start of June.

“In an attempt to rescue the woman a second time, they conducted an undercover operation, acting as a sex buyer,” the sheriff’s department said in news release.

The detectives arrived at a Ceres motel and found the 19-year-old and Santana. Santana was ordered at gunpoint to exit his vehicle. He was at first complying but then slipped from the grip of the detective and took off running through the motel parking lot. His attempt to flee was problematic as he lost both shoes while running and then tripped over his own feet. He was quickly caught and placed in handcuffs.

As Santana was being searched, he told the detectives he had a gun on him. A loaded handgun was found on his person, the sheriff’s department reported.

Sheriff’s detectives worked with local non-profit organizations specializing in human trafficking to assist the 19-year-old woman and she was relocated to a safe place.

Santana was booked into the Stanislaus County Jail and held without bail for pimping, pandering, felon in possession of a firearm, carrying a concealed firearm, felon in possession of ammunition, not the registered owner of the firearm, a parole violation, committing a felony while out on bail and obstructing law enforcement.