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Pair charged with trafficking 15-year-old in Medford

Two Californians are accused of trafficking an underage teen girl in the wake of a predawn arrest Friday at a Medford motel.

Lucious James Roy Jr., 32, and Dawniel Lea Santangelo, 41, both of Stockton, face felony human trafficking charges alleging they compelled a 15-year-old girl into prostitution.

Police found the teen from Modesto, California, at 5:13 a.m. after rushing a motel room door at the Motel 6 in the 2400 block of Biddle Road, according to Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau, who said the 15-year-old’s mother learned the girl was in Medford and contacted police.

“I think it’s every parent’s worst nightmare,” Budreau said.

Inside the motel room, police found Roy, Santangelo, the missing 15-year-old and an 18-year-old woman. With assistance from the nonprofit Community Works, police are working to reunite the juvenile and the 18-year-old with their families in California.

Roy and Santangelo made their initial court appearances Monday on charges of trafficking in persons, compelling prostitution and delivering marijuana to a minor, Jackson County Circuit Court records show.

The charges accuse them of harboring, recruiting and transporting the teen victim to engage in at least one commercial sex act, according to court documents.

Jackson County Circuit Judge David Orr ordered Roy to remain in Jackson County, consume no alcohol or intoxicants and not to contact the alleged victim should he post 10 percent of his $300,000 bail. Orr set Santangelo’s bail at $250,000 with no restrictions, records show.

As of Tuesday afternoon, both Roy and Santangelo remained in the Jackson County Jail, records showed.

Budreau said Medford trafficking arrests involving juveniles are rare.

“We know it happens, and we try to disrupt it,” Budreau said.

According to Budreau, human trafficking occurs more often than many people realize, particularly along Interstate 5, but intervening can be a challenge for local police. People ensnared in the sex trade typically aren’t local, Budreau said, often traveling in and out of the area. Traffickers will book encounters online and are careful, making local police stings difficult.

“It is a big problem,” Budreau said.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.

Lucious James Roy Jr., left, and Dawniel Lea Santangelo, both of Stockton, California, are each accused of compelling a 15-year-old into prostitution. Medford police photos.