On Monday, December 19, St. Paul woman Gisela Medina pleaded guilty to her involvement in a human trafficking case involving minors.
As per Fox, Gisela Castro Medina, 20, was involved with 32-year-old Anton Joseph Lazzaro in an operation where they recruited six minors into taking part in inappropriate intimate relations in exchange for money.
As per the Minnesota US Attorney's Office, Gisela Medina used social media and community networks to recruit young girls, at least one of whom was as young as 15. She reportedly admitted that she knew the girls she reached out to were minors.
In return, Gisela Medina was allegedly paid for this service by Anton Joseph Lazzaro, who was described by the minors as an affluent older man who would purchase luxury items for them. Medina has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit s*x trafficking of minors and one count of obstruction.
The operation allegedly run by Gisela Medina and Anton Lazzaro
Gisela Medina was indicted on seven trafficking-related charges on August 16, 2021, according to Bringmethenews. The charges alleged that Medina had brought several minors to Lazzaro, including a 16-year-old whom she trafficked to her supposed accomplice in May 2020.
As per the District Attorney's Office, after Medina would bring Lazzaro a girl, they would be paid $600 for taking part in illegal acts of intimacy. Medina was accused of receiving half the money in exchange for soliciting and recruiting young girls.
The US Attorney's documents read:
"Medina would show Lazzaro photographs of minor girls and if Lazzaro “approved” Medina would reach out to the minor and provide the minor’s contact information to Lazzaro."
"Medina told the minors that Lazzaro was an older guy with a lot of money, and that he wanted to be a sugar daddy to younger girls."
According to the documents, while Lazzaro frequently paid Medina in cash, he would also compensate her in other ways.
The statement read:
"Medina also admitted that Lazzaro provided the minor victims with alcohol, vaping cartridges, food, smartphones, high-end purses, rooms in the Hotel Ivy, and transportation."
"For her role of identifying, recruiting, and introducing minors, Lazzaro compensated Medina with cash and Venmo payments, as well as rent and utility payments for her apartment, tuition payments to the University of St. Thomas, car payments, travel expenses, and other items."
In December 2020, Gisela Medina and Anton Lazzaro reportedly committed obstruction of justice, as prosecutors accused them of bribing a 15-year-old victim to prevent her from talking to police officers about the human trafficking ring.
The district attorney's report claimed:
"Castro Medina picked up the minor victim at her place of employment, drove the minor victim around in her Mini Cooper, and provided her with hundreds of dollars in cash, gift cards, vapes, and alcohol from Lazzaro."
Medina's sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.