A tip from Santa Barbara police led to the arrest of a man who had allegedly used threats and coercion to force a companion to engage in prostitution.
San Luis Obispo County sheriff’s deputies, acting on an alert for a white, late-model Cadillac with Oklahoma license plates, pulled over Patrick Boughton, 20, near Morro Bay on Friday afternoon. Deputies detained Boughton and two women who were traveling with him.
The mother of one of the women, an 18-year-old from Nebraska, had contacted Santa Barbara police to report that her daughter had called her, saying she was being held against her will at an Upper State Street motel and was being forced to engage in prostitution. According to police Lt. Paul McCaffrey, a department spokesman, officers went to the motel and learned that three people, including one matching the 18-year-old’s description, had checked out an hour before police arrived. The motel was not identified.
San Luis Obispo County sheriff’s deputies later spotted the suspect vehicle and stopped it without incident on Highway 1 near Morro Bay. McCaffrey said detectives determined that Boughton had allegedly used threats, coercion and physical abuse to force the 18-year-old to engage in prostitution and prevent her from leaving. Boughton was arrested on charges of human trafficking and pandering, and is being held at the San Luis Obispo County Jail on $100,000 bail.
Detectives are investigating the group’s recent travels, McCaffrey said, and the relationship of the second woman to the criminal allegations.
San Luis Obispo-based CalCoastNews.com reported Saturday that a gun and drugs were found in the car.
— Noozhawk staff writer Ben Preston can be reached at email@example.com.