Breaking News Blog

Friday, Jan 18 2013 04:38 PM

Two accused of participating in human trafficking

By BREAKING NEWS BLOG

Bakersfield police are working on a human trafficking case where a juvenile victim was lured to a market and kidnapped for sexual exploitation.

On Jan. 8, the female juvenile left her resident and came into contact with 19-year-old Shanell Smith, of Reno, Nev. Smith lured her to a market on Brundage Lane where Vernon McCullum III, 19, also of Reno, was waiting in a vehicle.

She entered the vehicle with the men and was taken to a local motel where she engaged in a sex act with McCullum.

The next day, the juvenile asked the men for a ride and they offered to take her to school. Instead, the suspects drove onto northbound Highway 99 and, despite pleas from the victim to let her go, continued driving north to Tulare County.

The victim was driven to an unknown location and tried to escape, but McCullum assaulted her and Smith brandished a knife and pepper spray.

The victim was then driven to a motel in Reno, where she was forced to engage in prostitution and forced to pose nude for photographs. She again tried to escape and was again beaten by McCullum and forced back into the room.

McCullum was arrested on suspicion of human trafficking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, criminal threats, unlawful sexual intercourse, conspiracy and publishing child pornography. Smith is wanted for questioning in connection with the same charges.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to call the Bakersfield Police Department at 327-7111 or Detective Gary Carruesco at 326-3544.

- Bakersfield Police Department

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