Felon Charged with Raping, Sex Trafficking Minor in Hemet Area

City News Service Pristine Villarreal

MURRIETA (CNS) – A convicted felon accused of taking a runaway girl off the streets of Hemet, plying her with alcohol and sexually assaulting her multiple times, was charged Tuesday with rape of an intoxicated person and other offenses.

Frankie Lopez Frias, 39, of Valle Vista was arrested Thursday following a Riverside County Sheriff’s Department investigation.

Along with the rape count, Frias is charged with two counts each of sex trafficking and unlawful intercourse with a minor, as well as one count of providing a tattoo to a person under 18 years old and a sentence-enhancing allegation of targeting a vulnerable victim.

Frias, who is being held in lieu of $85,000 bail at the Byrd Detention Center, was slated to make his initial court appearance Tuesday afternoon at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta.

According to sheriff’s Sgt. Anthony Pelato, last Wednesday, deputies received reports that a juvenile girl known to be a runaway was staying at Frias’ residence in the area of Acacia Avenue and Meridian Street.

Based on suspicions that illegal activity was occurring, investigators went to the location and confirmed that the victim, whose identity was not disclosed, “had been picked up” by the defendant, Pelato said.

He said deputies soon determined that Frias allegedly “had sexually assaulted the underage girl.”

The county’s Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, composed of personnel from various law enforcement agencies in the region, assumed the investigation, culminating in Frias’ arrest Thursday night and the teenager being placed in protective custody, according to the sergeant.

Court records show the defendant has prior convictions for importation of controlled substances for sale and spousal abuse.

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

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