ELK GROVE (CBS13) — A teenage girl is safe after an observant Uber driver helped rescue her from a suspected sex trafficking ring.
While he didn’t know it at the time, he was taking a young girl, her pimp and another person to a job. But when they started openly discussing their plans in the car, the driver knew he had to do something.
It started out as a regular call for Kevin Avila, but when he picked up three female passengers at around 6:30 p.m. on Monday, he immediately knew something was wrong. The 16-year-old was dressed provocatively and sitting in the front seat.
“I saw her legs are really long and she was a really young girl,” he said.
Avila says one of the female passengers was getting angry that the other two were apparently not ready. Avila says she yelled at them.
“‘You need to get your priorities straight; we need to make this money; we need to make this money,'” he said.
The conversation turned to the how-tos of solicitation.
“She was saying, ‘When we get there you want to hug them do you want to say do you have any weapons that’s the first thing you ask.'” he said.
Avila says the directions were specific about collecting money.
“‘Then you want to pat them down make sure they don’t have any weapons and ask them do you have my donation do you have my donation you want to do that first before you start touching up on them or anything,'” he said.
That’s where the ride came to an end. Avila dropped off his passengers, then called police.
“The Uber driver did something spectacular, you listen to their conversation,” said Elk Grove police spokesman Chris Trim. “He listened in depth and in fact even know what room they were going to and that helped our officers.”
Disney Vang, 20, was arrested on charges of sex with a minor, while Destiny Pettway, 25, and Maria Westley, 31, were arrested on pimping and pandering charges.
“We’re actually passing on this information to other law-enforcement agencies to see if there are similar activities going on in their jurisdiction,” Trim said.