Bakersfield police identify 7 arrested following sex predator bust, announce additional arrests

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Bakersfield Police Department has identified seven men who were arrested in a Jan. 23 to Jan. 24 sex predator sting operation in Kern County.

During the operation, Bakersfield police said law enforcement officers arrested the following:

  • Jose Duran, 26

  • Reggie Esguerra, 37

  • Leonardo Ponce, 26

  • Jordan Lovette, 34

  • Lawrence Weldon, 32

  • Donald David, 23

  • Dejon Moore, 30

Duran, Esguerra, Ponce and Lovette were arrested on suspicion of communicating with minor for a specific offense and arranging a meeting with a minor for a specific purpose. Weldon, David and Moore were arrested on suspicion of pimping and pandering.

Long Beach man sentenced for attempted coercion of minor in Bakersfield: DOJ

Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office announced the arrests Monday following a two-day operation last week in Kern County targeting adults who allegedly sought to pay for sex on websites commonly used by victims of sex trafficking. The adults were communicating with undercover agents posing as minors, a release said.

According to BPD, three potential victims of commercial sexual exploitation were contacted and offered assistance services. Investigations into the potential victims’ situations were initiated.

In addition to the two-day operation, BPD said it has continued its partnership and collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Department of Homeland Security Investigations, Kern County District Attorney’s office and Kern County Probation Department to conduct several other operations and investigations directed at commercial sexual exploitation in the Bakersfield area.

Long Beach man sentenced for attempted coercion of minor in Bakersfield: DOJ

During January 2024, BPD said combined efforts led to 24 arrests for prostitution, as well as
the arrests of two men — 27-year-old Roandy Rameau and 35-year-old York Ray — for separate
incidents of pimping and pandering. Officers also arrested a 44-year-old man, Jimmy Brown, on suspicion of human trafficking of a child.

According to BPD, detectives also began 10 additional human trafficking investigations which involve commercial sexual exploitation. These investigations are ongoing, and two other cases were submitted for arrest warrants for human trafficking of separate children, officials said.

Anyone with information regarding these incidents or who suspects they know someone being sexually exploited is asked to contact BPD at 661-327-7111.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to KGET 17.