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California man arrested on suspicion of sex trafficking minor

A California man has been arrested on suspicion of sex trafficking a teen who went missing from a group home, then later turned up in Las Vegas.

Elijah Arruda, 18, of Lancaster, was booked Sunday at the Clark County Detention Center on counts of living from the earnings of a prostitute, sex trafficking a child under 18, child abuse neglect and first-degree kidnapping.

A Las Vegas police officer assigned to the Southern Nevada Child Exploitation Task Force wrote in an arrest report for Arruda that police, while conducting an investigation on the Las Vegas Strip at Spring Mountain Road, encountered a female youth who “was reported missing from a group home” recently.

“She ran away from the group home around the beginning of March of 2021,” police said. “(She) has been involved in prostitution for about a year.”

The youth said she met a young man named “Elijah” on social media and that she’d been staying with the individual. The man served as a lookout for her when she was engaged in prostitution. She denied giving the man money she earned, but then told police that sometimes she gave the man a little bit of the money.

Arruda was subsequently arrested by Las Vegas police. He denied trafficking the youth and said he did not know she was working as a prostitute. He said he thought the girl was allowed to leave the youth home for a few days to come to Las Vegas where they planned to buy a car before returning to California.

No charges have been filed in the case. Arruda is scheduled to appear in Las Vegas Justice Court in May as authorities decide whether to pursue criminal charges or not.

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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