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Sex trafficking charge dismissed due to ‘insufficient evidence’

Clark County prosecutors have declined to prosecute a California man arrested in March on suspicion of sex trafficking a teen in Las Vegas.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said evidence simply didn’t support a prosecution of Elijah Arruda, 18, of Lancaster.

“Like any other case, we review the evidence to determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed,” Wolfson wrote in an email. “In this case, my screening attorney determined that there was insufficient evidence to proceed and therefore, we denied prosecution.”

Arruda maintained his innocence to police when they questioned him March 21 about his association with a young woman in Las Vegas who was under 18. A Las Vegas police officer assigned to the Southern Nevada Child Exploitation Task Force wrote in an arrest report for Arruda that police, while conducting an investigation on the Strip at Spring Mountain Road, encountered a female youth who “was reported missing from a group home” recently.

“She ran away from the group home around the beginning of March of 2021,” police said. “(She) has been involved in prostitution for about a year.”

The youth said she met a young man named “Elijah” on social media and had been staying with the individual. The man served as a lookout for her when she was engaged in prostitution, police claimed. She denied giving the man money she earned, but then told police that sometimes she gave the man a little bit of the money.

Arruda told the officer the accusations were false, but he was arrested and booked at the Clark County Detention Center on counts of living from the earnings of a prostitute, sex trafficking a child under 18, child abuse neglect and first-degree kidnapping. The case was later dismissed in Las Vegas Justice Court.

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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