‘Modern-day brothel’: 3 arrested in BPD, federal years-long human trafficking investigation at Bakersfield motel

Crime Watch

UPDATE (2:45 p.m.): Bakersfield police said three people were arrested following an early morning raid at the Desert Star Motel on Union Avenue. Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer said the motel operated as a “modern day brothel.”

The department said a Bakersfield man, identified as 43-year-old Curtis Moore, was taken into custody. The department said federal agents took two others into custody but they were not identified. Three firearms were also seized in the raid.

Police officials said the arrest of Javonne Lewis last week and the rescue of one juvenile were connected to Friday morning’s investigation.

Moore is due in court on Tuesday, according to a Kern County inmate database.

The raid at the motel was part of an investigation ongoing since April 2019, Bakersfield police said.


UPDATE (8:26 a.m.): Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Terry said the activity at the Desert Start Motel on Friday was the result of a two-year investigation into human trafficking. More detailed information regarding arrests will be released this afternoon, but Terry said human trafficking is a “horrific form of abuse” where runaways and children are often preyed upon.

Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer called the Desert Star a modern day brothel. She said her office will partner with the U.S. Attorney’s office on the cases resulting from this investigation.


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Bakersfield police and federal authorities were conducting an operation Friday morning on South Union Avenue, the details of which have not been disclosed.

Vehicles from several agencies were parked outside the Desert Star Motel. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

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