Former GOP operative Anton Lazzaro convicted of sex trafficking underage girls
04/03/2023 12:20 pm PDT
MINNEAPOLIS (TCD) -- A 32-year-old former GOP operative was found guilty of sex trafficking minors following a 10-day trial.
According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota, Anton "Tony" Lazzaro "conspired with Castro Medina to recruit young girls –– 15-year-olds and 16-year-olds –– to have sex with him in exchange for cash and other items of value." He trafficked the minors from May 2020 through December 2020.
Lazzaro reportedly used his "fortune" to "manipulate young, vulnerable girls for his benefit."
In May 2020, Lazzaro met Medina via a website called Seeking Arrangements, known as a "sugar daddy" website, the Attorney’s Office said. Lazzaro reportedly told Medina to find girls for him on social media who he could have sex with in exchange for money, specifically asking for "young girls of a certain skin color, petite body type, and those who were considered vulnerable."
According to the Attorney’s Office, Lazzaro called the requested minors "broken girls."
Medina would then reportedly send photos of the girls for Lazzaro’s approval, and Medina would tell the minors Lazzaro was an "older guy with a lot of money, and that he wanted to be a sugar daddy to younger girls."
Lazzaro paid Medina $50,000 in exchange for her recruiting services, the Attorney’s Office said.
Lazzaro reportedly transported the girls to his luxury condo via car and Ubers he sent, and in one instance, he "sent a driver to pick up a group of 14- and 15-year-olds from a slumber party in St. Michael, Minnesota."
At his condo, the Attorney’s Office said Lazzaro provided the minor girls with alcohol, "flash stacks of cash," and he’d give them money to "perform various sex acts" before sending them home with "cash, vapes, alcohol, Plan B, cellphones, and other items of value."
On Dec. 15, 2020, federal investigators served a search warrant at Lazzaro’s condo. According to WCCO-TV, inside the condo, FBI agents found around $400,000 in cash, foreign currency, possible gold bars, a GPS tracker, thumb drives, laptops, tablets, and cellphones. They also reportedly seized his Ferrari.
Several months later, in March 2021, Medina said she and Lazzaro "agreed to pay off a 15-year-old victim to prevent her from talking to law enforcement."
In December 2022, Medina pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors and one count of obstruction.
Lazzaro reportedly confessed to having sex with the minor girls, but he denied that he recruited them in a sex trafficking scheme. However, on Friday, March 31, the Attorney’s Office announced Lazzaro was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors and five counts of sex trafficking of minors.
Lazzaro and Medina’s sentencing hearings have not yet been scheduled.
According to WCCO, Lazzaro donated just under $200,000 to Minnesota Republicans.
In a statement, the prosecution team said, "Today’s guilty verdict recognizes the bravery of the five young victims who were trafficked by Lazzaro. We are humbled by their courage and inspired by their journeys to regain their power."
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