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Press Release

Man Sentenced to Nine Years in Prison for Transporting Two Girls for Prostitution

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


SAN DIEGO – Deonathan Abdul Gaston of Long Beach, California, was sentenced in federal court Monday to nine years in prison for transporting two girls, ages 15 and 16, to San Diego in August 2023 to engage in prostitution.

One of the victims had been reported missing from Arizona prior to being transported by Gaston from Arizona to Los Angeles and then to San Diego to engage in prostitution. Gaston had known one of the victims since she was 14.

The victims were rescued by the National City Police Department on August 13, 2023, when officers conducted a traffic stop on the defendant in a high-crime area known for prostitution. He had no driver’s license on him and was not going to be allowed to drive the car. He called his “girlfriend” to come pick up the car from the traffic stop; the girl turned out to be the missing Arizona teen. Officers then responded to the hotel where the girl said they were staying and found the other victim. The case was turned over to the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force.

“Selling children for sex is a reprehensible crime that impacts victims for a lifetime,” said U.S. Attorney Tara McGrath. “We can all play a part in protecting the vulnerable by paying close attention to warning signs and reporting concerns. Our children are not necessarily being grabbed from the street. They are being groomed and recruited online.” Please see

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. Attorneys Lyndzie M. Carter and Derek Ko.

DEFENDANTS                                             Case Number 23-cr-1944-AGS                  

Deonathan Abdul Gaston                                           Age: 26                                   Long Beach, CA


Transportation for Purpose of Prostitution – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 2421(a)

Maximum penalty: Ten years in prison and $250,000 fine


National City Police Department

San Diego County District Attorney’s Office

Homeland Security Investigations

Federal Bureau of Investigation

San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force


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

Updated April 24, 2024

Press Release Number: CAS24-0424-Gaston