The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Special Investigations Bureau conducted two prostitution stings in Goleta over the past four months, using undercover detectives at local motels to pick up four male suspects.
According to a SBCS Office press release, detectives apprehended 35-year-old Goleta resident Daniel David Laub in December after he replied to an online advertisement, written by detectives, and arranged to meet an undercover deputy at a local motel. A similar operation on Feb. 24 captured 20-yaer-old Rolando Tomas Santiago Mendoza, 58-year-old Goleta resident Christopher Erick Lund and 20-year-old Santa Barbara resident Moises Perez.
SBCSO Public Information Officer Drew Sugars said the Bureau would continue conducting stings in the area.
“We are going to do more of these in the future,” Sugars said. “[Prostitution] is illegal. Even though it may be two consenting adults, it is an illegal activity. Through law enforcement, it is our duty to enforce the laws and we will do that.”
Mendoza, Lund, Perez and Laub were booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail for soliciting prostitution.
According to Sugars, prostitutes within the region frequently come from out of town to find customers.
“We had been aware that people had been coming into the area — what typically happens is someone will come from out of the area and put an ad on the internet offering services — and what we did here was set up a sting operation that targeted specifically the customers in this specific case.”
Sugars said instances involving prostitution occur often enough to warrant such monitoring and sting operations.
“I can say that it exists, it goes on, it is not rare; but beyond that I cannot really say if it is a bad problem or a widespread problem because that is very subjective,” Sugars said.
Asst. County Editor Vanessa Angiuli contributed to this article.