Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified a suspect as a person arrested in the investigation based on information from a news release from the Kern County District Attorney’s Office. The DA’s office later determined that information was incorrect and that the previously mentioned person was not arrested in the operation and has no charges pending.

Additionally, the list of suspects in the news release included a second name of someone the DA’s office later determined to be a false identity provided by the suspect. They later identified him as Frank Andrew Brown, 39.

17 News deeply regrets the mistake.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — During a multi-agency investigation, authorities arrested 20 people and recovered five victims involved in a human trafficking and child exploitation operation in Bakersfield.

Between April 20 and April 23, multiple agencies arrested three for trying to contact juveniles for lewd purposes via social media and dating apps.

One of those arrested was a lieutenant with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Jose Donaciano Valdez allegedly tried to meet with a 13-year-old girl at a hotel for lewd purposes. The girl was an undercover officer.

CDCR told 17 News that Valdez has been placed on administrative leave.

Valdez has been with CDCR since 2007 when he started as a cadet, according to CDCR officials. He was assigned as a correctional officer at California Correctional Institution (CCI) on June 16, 2007 and promoted to sergeant at CCI in 2013. He was assigned as a limited-term lieutenant at CCI between Aug. 5, 2019 and Aug. 4, 2021 and before returning to sergeant on Aug. 5, 2021 after the limited-term position expired.

CDCR said no further details could be provided as the investigation is ongoing and being handled by Kern County Sheriff’s Office. 

Authorities also arrested six for trying to solicit sexual acts in exchange for cash and five alleged pimps.

“Maintaining a strong law enforcement presence in social media, dating apps, and physical locations where human trafficking is known to occur is an important element of suppressing human trafficking,” said Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer.

The following were arrested on various charges including pimping, pandering, sending harmful material to seduce a minor and arranging meeting with a minor for lewd purposes:

  1. Juan Carlos Gonzalez, 26
  2. Oscar Gonzalez-Oyalo, 24
  3. David N. Stokes, 61
  4. Hugo Ramos Inga, 44
  5. Luis Aguilar, 25
  6. Isiah Kyli Chapman, 25
  7. Jose Lozano, 26
  8. Jose Donaciano Valdez, 57
  9. Alyiaha Delany Daniels, 27
  10. Emmo Castro-Santos, 29
  11. Eduardo David Rojas-Rosas, 21
  12. Timothy Lee Overturf, 41
  13. Andrew Medina, 34
  14. Ovidio Lopez, 36
  15. Michael Tyrone Hood, 26
  16. Ronnie Hobbs, 44
  17. Brian Starks, 53
  18. Erick Cameron Kramer, 17
  19. Michael Andrew Carmichael, 30
  20. Willie Donte Brown, 34

“This operation is yet another example of our ongoing efforts to protect our most vulnerable populations from sexual predators,” said Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Terry. “The Bakersfield Police Department will continue to leverage our relationships with local, state and federal law enforcement partners in an effort to disrupt and stop the victimization of our children.”

The agencies involved include Kern County Human Trafficking Task Force investigators from the Bakersfield Police Department, Kern County Sheriff’s Office and the Kern County Probation Department, Homeland Security Investigations, Kern County District Attorney’s Office, FBI, Fresno Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Parole Unit, and the United States Secret
Service.

The Department of Homeland Security declined request for comment.