Sting Operations

Sex trafficking ‘hot spots’ targeted

By Howard Schmidt
January 2022

District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert didn’t spend all her time last year prosecuting fraudulent COVID-19 unemployment claims. Her office was busy on many fronts, including important work to reduce human trafficking.

Authorities chased sex buyers and sex exploiters in operation “Hot Spots,” a countywide sting with law enforcement partners and more than 30 community organizations called Sacramento Together Against Human Trafficking.

The efforts concentrated on areas long notorious for the sex trade, including Stockton Boulevard, Auburn Boulevard and Watt Avenue in North Highlands.

For the “Hot Spots” sting, Schubert’s office created training videos for investigators. The focus was on suspect tactics and manipulations of human trafficking victims, along with evidence collection for prosecutions. Street and hotel operations were aimed at sex buyers. Fake decoy prostitution ads were posted.

The phony ads generated 261 responses. This month court dates will be held for 22 citations issued for soliciting prostitution. There was also a charge for pandering and the human trafficking of a minor.

“We are committed to continuing sting operations through the Sacramento Together coalition to target sex traffickers and buyers as well as maximize our efforts to protect and serve victims of sexual exploitation,” Schubert says.

Another joint operation was “Sleepwalker,” a large effort involving local law enforcement. Undercover officers purchased more than 100 firearms from people illegally dealing weapons, with 26 arrests. Much of the money from stolen unemployment benefits ended up in the illicit gun trade.

“The influx of billions of dollars in EDD fraud into the hands of criminals resulted in a drastic increase in the number of illegal firearms and firearm-related violence in our communities,” Schubert says.

If you want to have a say in what happens in Sacramento County, consider serving on one of the commissions and advisory boards that provide recommendations to the Board of Supervisors. These groups deal with land use, social welfare, public health and much more.

Residents of the unincorporated area can serve on Community Planning Advisory Councils for specific neighborhoods, including Arden-Arcade, Carmichael and Fair Oaks. These councils make land-use recommendations. There are 14 local advisory councils in the unincorporated county.

Planning Advisory Councils can weigh in on controversial issues, such as rezoning, approving liquor licenses and allowing the creation of subdivisions. Depending on the topic, meetings can have packed audiences and plenty of heated discussion.

Prior to being elected, Supervisor Rich Desmond served on the Carmichael/Old Foothill Farms Community Planning Advisory Council.

All county residents regardless of location can be appointed to public policy advisory bodies dealing with issues such as behavioral health, status of women and girls, aging, employment, equal opportunity and public health.

Usually, seats are available for the general public, but some appointments may require specific expertise. There are nearly 40 subject-area advisory bodies, including a County Bicycle Advisory Committee and an advisory panel for the American River Parkway.

Many people believe such appointments require political influence or social standing. That’s not true. Openings are published each month. The process requires filing an online application, typically followed by an interview with county staff.

Available appointments can be viewed on the Clerk of the Board’s webpage at

Howard Schmidt worked on federal, state and local levels of government, including 16 years for Sacramento County. He can be reached at Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

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