Police Arrest Teen Accused of Helping GOP Strategist’s Underage Sex Trafficking

·3 min read
Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Department
Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Department

Law enforcement in Florida has arrested Gisela Castro Medina, a 19-year-old accused of helping a wealthy, young Republican strategist in Minnesota prey on girls and recruit them for paid sex.

She faces the same criminal charges as her alleged pal, GOP operative Anton Lazzaro: sex trafficking of a minor, attempt to commit sex trafficking, and obstruction of justice.

Both hail from Minnesota. But while the FBI arrested Lazzaro in Minneapolis on Thursday morning, jail records show that law enforcement caught up with Castro Medina that same evening in the Florida panhandle. She was labeled a “fugitive from justice” and jailed overnight, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Department.

The agency’s website indicates that she was denied an opportunity to pay bond for release and was instead transferred out of their custody on Friday afternoon.

A photo posted to Instagram shows Castro Medina and Lazzaro together at an event in May, each with a different partner at their side. She describes herself publicly online as a student living in St. Paul, Minnesota who attends the Catholic University of St. Thomas and works at a property management company. She is the chair of the university’s chapter of Minnesota College Republicans, the group confirmed. A person who knows her personally confirmed to The Daily Beast that Castro Medina was traveling in Florida this week.

<div class="inline-image__credit">Instagram</div>
Instagram

Shortly after a phone call with The Daily Beast on Saturday, the Minnesota College Republicans put out a statement about the arrest.

“We as an organization are absolutely disgusted by the actions of Ms. Medina, and have cut all ties with her effective immediately,” Nia Moore, the group’s chair, said in a statement. “Our prayers go out to the victims of Anton Lazzaro and Gisela Medina—we believe you. We stand with you. May justice be served.”

According to two of Lazzaro’s former associates, he is currently dating an 18-year-old woman. One said he met her through Castro Medina.

Castro Medina’s name is still redacted in the public version of the indictment, but she is expected to soon appear in federal court in Minnesota. She did not respond to requests for comment on Saturday morning.

Lazzaro, a Ferrari-driving wannabe playboy who helped bankroll several Republican politicians, is accused in the indictment of pairing up with an associate in a months-long campaign in 2020 to recruit five young girls for paid sex—and an attempt to pressure a sixth. The indictment also claims his associate “intentionally interfered” with the federal investigation in March 2021.

The Daily Beast this week broke the news about his arrest, and how the FBI searched his luxury condo in downtown Minneapolis back in December in a search for evidence about whom he was bringing in and out of the building.

Court records now show that agents seized his 2010 convertible Ferrari, $371,240 in U.S. bills, assorted cash from 10 other countries, gold bullion currently worth more than $931,000, a similar amount of silver, and 13 phones—including one specifically designed to be quickly wiped of data with a single swipe.

In the days since his arrest, Republicans in Minnesota have been distancing themselves from Lazzaro. When The Daily Beast interviewed him in July, weeks before his arrest, he threatened this reporter for investigating his actions.

At the time, he claimed: “There's nothing to this case. It's not some Matt Gaetz or whatever you think this is.”

By coincidence, his associate was jailed in Okaloosa County, which is located in Gaetz’s congressional district in Florida.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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