3/29/2016 (updated 3/30/2016) – OKC, OK — An Oklahoma City woman was arrested for aiding in the prostitution of a teenager, police requested human trafficking charges to be filed – the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s office instead chose to pursue lesser charges.
According to court records, back in June of last year, members of the Oklahoma City Police Department’s Vice Unit were investigating adult services suspected to be fronts for prostitution advertised on Backpage.com.
A male undercover officer replied to one of the ads and was directed to 2919 NW 122nd in Northwest Oklahoma City. Public records show that address at the time belonged to the Weigh of Life Massage Center.
The undercover Vice officer arrived around 4 p.m. on Jun. 18, and was met by a woman later identified as Wendy Valdez-Guardiola, 32. The undercover officer was offered a two-person massage to be performed by Valdez and another woman. When the massage ended, Valdez allegedly offered the undercover officer masturbation for $100 more – to be performed by the other woman in the room.
The undercover officer then identified himself and placed both females under arrest for prostitution.
While processing the two females it was learned that the other woman was only 17-years-old.
Police also located $270 in the business that they seized as criminal proceeds.
Valdez was booked into the Oklahoma County Jail on criminal complaints of human trafficking, prostitution, possession of criminal proceeds, and computer crimes.
In Oklahoma the statute on human sex trafficking a minor is clear – “Human trafficking for commercial sex means: recruiting, enticing, harboring, maintaining, transporting, providing, purchasing or obtaining, by any means, a minor for purposes of engaging the minor in a commercial sex act, or benefiting, financially or by receiving anything of value, from participating in a venture that has engaged in an act of trafficking for commercial sex”
For unknown reasons, when formal charges were filed on July 2, the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s office (under the “leadership” of DA David Prater) did not include the human trafficking charge – instead charging Valdez with the lesser offenses of offering to engage in prostitution, possession of criminal proceeds and computer crimes.
Dropping the human trafficking charge means that Valdez no longer faces five years to life in prison and fines up to $100,000.
From the Oklahoma state statute on human trafficking: “Any person violating the provisions of this section shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections for a term of not less than five (5) years or for life, or by a fine of not more than One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment.”
DA Prater would probably argue that the teen in this case was ‘uncooperative’ and that is why the human trafficking charge was not filed. And, if he did, I’d call “Bullshit!” on that excuse. The statute does not require a cooperative witness, it only requires the elements of the crime – those elements were clearly established during the investigation and arrests. DA Prater’s office routinely prosecutes domestic violence cases where a victim is less than cooperative.
Regardless, Valdez was released from custody after posting a $17,500 bail.
Court records show that Valdez missed her Mar. 7, court date and a warrant was issued for her arrest.
Valdez was located and returned to custody by members of the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office on Mar. 22.
Valdez’s previous bond was revoked and her new bond set at $54,000 – which she apparently had no trouble posting just four days later.
As JohnTV readers well know, this is not the first time Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater’s office has chosen to go easy on those who sexually traffic our children.
When Valdez was arrested for the sex trafficking of a local teen, she was already charged in Oklahoma County with felony forgery in the second degree.
Valdez lists her home address in the 400 block of NW 116 in Oklahoma City.
JohnTV will continue to follow this case.