Human trafficking suspects

STOCKTON — Two Tracy men are scheduled for a preliminary hearing in late March for human trafficking and other charges.

The charges against Dominick Diaz, 23, include human trafficking, pandering by procuring for the purpose of prostitution, pimping, forcible oral copulation, assault with a firearm and forcible rape.

Co-defendant Erwin Alejandro Molina-Almonte, 19, is charged with kidnapping, first-degree robbery and rape by force.

They were arrested as part of a human trafficking investigation that led police to three houses in Tracy in November.

In San Joaquin County Superior Court on Wednesday morning, lawyers for the defense and prosecution agreed to set a preliminary hearing at 8:30 a.m. March 28 in Department 26.

Deputy District Attorney Elton Grau told Judge Ron Northup he expected the hearing to take two days.

Northup also scheduled a pre-preliminary hearing at 8:30 a.m. March 2 in Department 35 to make sure both sides were prepared to proceed.

According to police reports, Molina-Almonte was arrested around 7 a.m. Nov. 24 on the 300 block of Ranchero Way as San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department served a search warrant, assisted by Tracy Police Department and the sheriff’s SWAT team. Officers also searched homes on the 1500 block of Lincoln Boulevard and the 200 block of West Whittier Avenue.

Deputies arrested Diaz around 2 p.m. Nov. 11 after they went to a hotel on the 4200 block of East Highway 88 in Stockton where a woman had asked a clerk for help. They stopped a vehicle occupied Diaz and two alleged victims, ages 20 and 22.

During the vehicle stop, the 20-year-old woman told officers that she and the other woman had been forced into prostitution. She said they had been staying in a Stockton hotel when Diaz and another man entered their hotel room and forced them at gunpoint to go to a residence in Tracy before returning to their hotel.

During a previous hearing, Diaz and Molina-Almonte both entered not-guilty pleas to all the charges against them. They remain in San Joaquin County Jail. Diaz is being held on $2,553,000 bail and Molina-Almonte on $1,250,000 bail.

Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at drizzo@tracypress.com or 830-4225.

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