by Cindy Summers
Police reports are provided to us by the Ventura Police Department and are not the opinions of the Ventura Breeze. All suspects mentioned are assumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Human Trafficking, Pimping/Pandering Arrest
On December 20, at 1pm, Ventura Police Officers responded to a call of a possible female victim being held against her will at a local Ventura Hotel in the 5800 block of Valentine Rd. Initial responding officers conducted surveillance and spotted the victim’s car and a possible suspect in the hotel parking lot. They later saw a female in the car matching the victim’s description.
Other officers made contact with the possible suspect and victim in the parking lot. After the preliminary investigation, officers determined the victim was in fact a Human Sex Trafficking victim and was been being held against her will at the hotel. They also discovered the victim was being forced to have sex with various men for money, and the proceeds from the prostitution were going directly to 23 year old Demarea Williams. Investigators also learned the victim had been trafficked up and down the coast of California as well as into Arizona and Texas.
During the course of the investigation, 22 year old Monay Lewis, an associate of Williams, was on scene yelling at the victim, calling her names and threatening her if she cooperated with police. Officers went to arrest her for dissuading the victim, and during her arrest, she resisted. Williams was taken into custody without incident.
Assault with a Deadly Weapon on Police Officer, Possession of a Stolen Vehicle, and Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
On December 25, at approximately 9:30am, a Ventura Police officer was on patrol when he observed a vehicle driving on Harbor Blvd. The officer ran the vehicle’s license plate, which showed it to be a stolen vehicle out of Ventura. The driver of the vehicle, later identified as the suspect 26 year old Ventura resident Juan Acosta, saw the officer following him and drove to the dead end of San Pedro St. at the beach. Acosta attempted to flee in the vehicle by driving around the first officer’s patrol car and as a second officer was arriving on scene, Acosta intentionally drove the stolen vehicle into the front of that officer’s patrol car. Acosta was blocked in by the two officers, which kept him from fleeing the scene.
Acosta was taken into custody without incident. He sustained minor injuries as a result of him driving into the patrol vehicle. After being medically cleared at VCMC, Acosta was booked into the Ventura County Jail for assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, possession of a stolen vehicle and driving under the influence of drugs.
No officers were injured as a result of this incident, although the patrol vehicle that Acosta collided into had to be towed from the scene.
Train vs. Pedestrian
On December 27, at 12:30pm, the Ventura Police Command Center was notified by Amtrak dispatch regarding a pedestrian being struck by an Amtrak train on the railroad tracks near the railroad trestle east of California St. and Harbor Blvd. Officers arrived on scene and found the victim lying adjacent to the railroad tracks. Ventura Fire and AMR personnel also responded and immediately pronounced the victim deceased.
According to the train engineer the northbound train was traveling at approximately 50 mph, when he saw the victim sitting on the railroad tracks in the middle of the trestle. It appeared the victim attempted to get out of the way of the train, but could not get clear of the tracks in time. All emergency attempts were made to stop the train, but the train did not stop in time and struck the victim.
Ventura County Medical Examiner responded to the scene. The victim was a 50 year old adult male whose name was not immediately determined. Once the victim’s identity has been confirmed, the coroner’s office will notify the next of kin.
The train, occupied by approximately 350 passengers, was delayed at the scene for two hours while the investigation was being completed. Traffic on the southbound highway 101 was briefly shutdown while the investigation was being conducted. All roadways are now open.
Homicide Suspect Arrested
On December 4 the Ventura Police Department’s Command Center received a call from a Gold Coast Transit bus driver reporting a non-responsive subject at a bus stop on the corner of Main St. and Ash St. The victim was pronounced deceased.
Over the course of the investigation on the homicide Ventura Police Department Major Crimes detectives identified 33 year old Palmdale resident Matthew Paoli as the suspect. On December 27 at approximately 3:25pm, Paoli was seen in the area of Santa Clara St. and Laurel St., and was taken into custody without incident.
Paoli was booked into Ventura County Jail for murder.
On December 28, at approximately 11:45pm, the Ventura Police Department Command Center received a 9-1-1 call regarding a subject who had been beaten and may have lost consciousness. The victim was found lying on the promenade west of the Ventura Pier. Ventura Police patrol officers responded to the location and found the victim with minor to moderate injuries to his head and upper body. The victim indicated that he was battered by 5 subjects who had “jumped” him. The victim was ultimately transported to the Ventura County Medical Center where he was treated for his injuries and is expected to recover. It was determined that the victim was punched and kicked multiple times and may have lost consciousness during the incident.
The suspect is unknown at this time and there is no other information available. Anyone with information related to this incident is encouraged to call the Ventura Police Department Watch Commander at 805 339-4416.