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Trooper rescues 15-year-old human trafficking victim during Ohio traffic stop

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LUCAS COUNTY, OH — Ohio State Highway Patrolman Mitch Ross made a traffic stop Tuesday that may have saved a life.

According to OSHP, Trooper Ross stopped a driver for a failure to move over violation on I-80 west in Lucas County. During the stop, OSHP says the officer noticed a young female riding with an older male. Neither the girl or the man had identification on them or spoke English.

Highway Patrol said troopers determined the two are of El Savadorian decent and brought a Patrol translator to the scene.

Morales-Pedraza

Police say it was also confirmed that the man had forced the girl to perform acts on him and that the girl was being taken to Chicago from New Jersey. It was determined that the girl was 15 years old and the man, Juan Carlos Morales-Pedraza, was 35 years old.

When troopers were able to positively identify the girl, they reportedly discovered she was entered into the police databases as a missing juvenile from Paterson, NJ.

Police say she was taken to the hospital for medical care and arrested the man.

The Lucas County Corrections Center said Morales-Pedraza was charged with abduction with sexual motivation and immigration detainer. Other charges are pending.

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