Navajo County Sheriff’s Deputy Rescues Boy From Human Trafficker

Julio Ramirez-Felipe [Photo courtesy Navajo County Sheriff's Office]

Navajo County Sheriff’s deputy is being hailed after a child was saved from a human trafficker because of the deputy’s training.

According to the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office, on September 8, 2023, a deputy assigned to the Criminal Interdiction Unit conducted a traffic stop on Interstate 40 at milepost 258 in the Winslow area. After an investigation was conducted, it was learned that Julio Ramirez-Felipe, age 35 of Greenfield, CA, was traveling with a juvenile boy who was not related or known to him. Ramirez-Felipe was arrested and booked into Navajo County Jail for Assisting in Human Smuggling Organization.

The Navajo County Sheriff’s Office says deputies assigned to the Criminal Interdiction Unit have received substantial training on recognizing and detecting signs of human trafficking. During the traffic stop, the deputy utilized their training and was able to determine that the child was in danger and was being trafficked. The deputy secured the juvenile while Ramirez-Felipe was transported to Navajo County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) Jail. He is currently being held on an immigration detainer.

The Criminal Interdiction Unit deputy is working with partnering investigative agencies to further investigate this incident.

The Sheriff’s Office is reminding the public that there is “no specific age, race, or gender that is targeted for human trafficking. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide, including here in Arizona.”

“We are proud of our deputy for applying his training and saving the juvenile from danger,” Sheriff Clouse stated. “I would like to commend my deputy for his exemplary investigative work on this traffic stop. Because of this simple traffic stop and furtherance of his investigation, an innocent child was rescued from danger. Human trafficking is a real issue that affects too many children. Thank you to the men and women who combat these issues every day.”

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