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Press Release

Man Sentenced to 12 Years for Sex Trafficking a 15-Year-Old Girl

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of California

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – February 12, 2024

SAN DIEGO – Gabriel Joseph Gonzalez of Pomona, California was sentenced in federal court today to 12 years in prison for sex trafficking a 15-year-old girl in early 2023.

Gonzalez pleaded guilty in July 2023 to one count of sex trafficking of a minor. The victim was a runaway living at a group home in Los Angeles County when Gonzalez began trafficking her. Gonzalez had known the victim since she was 13. He enticed her to leave the group home to engage in commercial sex work for Gonzalez’s financial benefit. He then transported the victim to San Diego and forced her to walk areas known for prostitution on Dalbergia Street in San Diego and Roosevelt Avenue in National City.

During January 2023, Gonzalez forced the victim to engage in commercial sex work every day for seven straight days– except for the victim’s 16th birthday. He allowed her to take that day “off.”

The victim escaped by calling 911. She was rescued by the San Diego Police Department on January 26, 2023, and the case was turned over to the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force.

Even after entering a guilty plea in July 2023, Gonzalez attempted to continue to traffic the victim while in custody through jail calls. U.S. District Judge Larry Alan Burns pronounced the 12-year sentence, noting Gonzalez’s “absolute lack of remorse” in his conduct while in custody and his continued victimization of the minor.

“The victim’s courage to call 911 in this case was extraordinary,” said U.S. Attorney Tara McGrath. “Her trust in law enforcement demonstrated that when someone reports abuse, the public servants in this community are all hands on deck to bring abusers to justice.”

“Human trafficking and sexual exploitation of a minor is inexcusable,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “At the California Department of Justice, we are fighting to hold perpetrators accountable and help survivors get a fresh start. I’m thankful to all our partners for their collaboration in the California DOJ-led San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force. I’m proud of our office’s work to help uplift vulnerable Californians. When we work together, we get results.”

“The vital work being done by local and federal partners on the Human Trafficking Task Force to combat sex trafficking cannot be quantified,” said FBI San Diego Special Agent in Charge Stacey Moy. “The violence or coercion that is committed against sex trafficking victims can have a lasting negative impact on the victim, their families, and the community for years to come.”

If you are living or working under threat of violence or extortion, or you suspect someone else may be, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center toll free, 24/7 Hotline: CALL: (888) 373-7888 or TEXT BeFree or 233733.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Derek Ko and Lyndzie M. Carter.

DEFENDANTS                                             Case Number 23-cr-0513-LAB                              

Gabriel Joseph Gonzalez                                            Age: 20                                   Pomona, CA


Sex Trafficking of a Minor – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1591(a) and (b)(1)

Maximum penalty: Up to life in prison and $250,000 fine; Ten-year mandatory minimum sentence


San Diego Police Department

National City Police Department

Federal Bureau of Investigation, San Diego

San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force


Media Relations Director Kelly Thornton (619) 546-9726 or

Updated February 12, 2024

Human Trafficking
Press Release Number: CAS24-0212-Gonzalez