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Citrus Heights police announce 10 arrests in prostitution sting operations

prostitution sting
Citrus Heights police announced the arrest of four alleged “johns” in a prostitution sting that resulted in a total of 10 arrests last week. Among those arrested was a former adviser to Schwarzenegger (top left). // Image courtesy, CHPD

Sentinel staff report–
Citrus Heights police announced 10 arrests on Tuesday as a result of recent prostitution sting operations. The arrests included a former Schwarzenegger adviser, who is accused of soliciting prostitution.

Police said in a news release that the operations involved multiple agencies and were held as part of a statewide prostitution sting last week that targeted both pimps and “johns,” a term referring to those who solicit the services of a prostitute. Four alleged “johns” who were arrested were identified as Hamel Yan, 39, of Elk Grove; Darrick Chavis, 19, of Vacaville; Steven Birdsong, 42, of Antelope; and Daniel Pellissier, 57, of Sacramento.

Others were arrested for reasons including probation violations, prostitution, and felony and misdemeanor warrant arrests, police said.

According to The Sacramento Bee, one of the men arrested, Pellissier, served as then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s deputy cabinet secretary for energy and environment from 2007 to 2011. He currently serves as president of California Pension Reform, which advocates for changes in the state’s pension policies. A photo of Pellissier on his organization’s website resembles a booking photo released by police.

Last August, Citrus Heights police announced the arrest of nine other suspects as part of a county-wide prostitution sting that resulted in a total of 39 arrests.

The latest sting operation was held in coordination with the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force as part of the fourth annual Reclaim and Rebuild Enforcement Operation. Police said the effort seeks “to identify and rescue commercially, sexually exploited victims of human trafficking and to disrupt the demand of prostitution by targeting the people who seek to victimize others through either soliciting or requesting services of prostitution.”

According to Tuesday’s news release, police said a variety of tactics were used to secure the arrests, including “using the internet.” Another common tactic used by law enforcement involves undercover officers posing as prostitutes.

Police said anyone with information about human trafficking taking place in the city is asked to contact the Citrus Heights Police Department at (916) 727-5500.

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