I was told via a social media post sent to my DMs on Instagram on July 29th, 2021. It was our last night in California. We officially moved away the next day.
It’s been nearly two months since then. My family and I are now living in upstate NY. I’m currently writing to you from a small room in my dad’s basement that I’ve converted into an office “sort of.” The walls are covered in plastic and pipes. It smells like dust and moth balls. (Like pretty much every basement I’ve ever been in.)
I just finished listening to the USA v. Araceli Mendoza’s Trial today. I called in on the public line to listen due to COVID-19 protocols. (12 other people were on the line before lunch, 6 after.)
Disclaimer: I’m not completely clear on who was talking and when. At times names were muffled and I couldn’t tell the difference between some voices. I do believe there were a number of people in the courtroom today as at one point Araceli Mendoza was pointed out and described as “wearing a black shirt.”
For background, Araceli Mendoza was arrested in 2016 with Ariel Guizar-Cuellar for felony Human Trafficking of a Minor in Orange County, CA. She was originally charged, but was not convicted. She was considered a victim in that case.
She was 23-years-old in 2016. Guizar was 35.
The rational part of a person’s brain isn’t fully developed until age 25, according to Joseph Campellone MD and Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN from the University of Rochester.
Back to Bianca. Bianca shared her story with me back in 2016. Our interview, my connection to her, is what drew me into this case.
I’m not completely clear exactly how she died, but I hope to find more information out soon.
I had been speaking with her over this past year as I have continued to follow the case. She had known about Araceli’s trial. Her cell records had been subpoenaed. She was supposed to testify. She didn’t want to.
Bianca’s name was mentioned several times in court today – attorney’s referencing things she said and did. I wasn’t in the courtroom, but the fact that she, is now dead seemed to linger in the air. I image the others felt it too.
They knew, but weren’t talking about it.
At one point, I was listening to the prosecutor interview an investigator about the concept of a “Victim Offender” regarding Araceli’s involvement in the children sex trafficking conspiracy. It left me feeling a pit in my stomach that still hasn’t gone away.
Here’s a recap of the line of questioning:
“In your assessment, did any of these people…have a happy life?” The prosecutor asked.
Prosecutor: “Is it common for the victims to have suffered prior abuse?”
Prosecutor: “Is it common for the trafficker to have suffered prior abuse?”
There you have it. “There is no happy ending.”
If you’d like to learn more about Bianca. Here’s a link to a GoFundMe account set up for her memorial. You can also learn more here.
Leader of Human Trafficking Ring Sentenced to 40 Years
SAN JOSE, Calif. – The leader of the human trafficking ring who sold the sexual services of adult women and at least three minor girls across multiple states was sentenced to 40 years in Federal Court today.
Parents of Child Victims Confront Traffickers In Federal Court
SAN JOSE, Calif – Sobs filled the US District Courthouse as family members of the victims of a human sex trafficking ring involving at least three children read their statements to the court, Tuesday. The mastermind of the commercial sex ring is Ariel Guizar-Cuellar. He was arrested 6-years ago at a hotel less than a…
Federal Jury Convicts San Jose Woman In Sex Trafficking Conspiracy
SAN JOSE – A federal jury convicted Araceli Mendoza today of conspiracy and sex trafficking of children, announced Acting United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair. The conviction follows a two-week trial before the Honorable Beth Labson Freeman, U.S. District Judge. At trial, the…