Shocked neighbors describe suspect as “a good man”
■ Chronicle News Staff
A resident of San Jacinto has been arrested on sex trafficking charges with victims ranging from minors to adult women. The male suspect has been confirmed as 35-year-old Damian Lamont Beverly.
In November 2017, two 14-year-old victims walked into the Ontario Police Department distraught but ready to tell their story. Reportedly, the girls had been trafficked by Beverly while staying at an Ontario motel. When the girls first reported the incident they could only identify him by his alias known as ‘KD,’ with his whereabouts and contact information unknown.
The victims’ testimonies sparked a seven-month investigation on human trafficking allegations against Beverly. A month leading up to the arrest, Cpl. Nick Lefler from the San Bernardino County Human Trafficking Task Force took over the case. The task force is made up of investigators from Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, California State Patrol, the Ontario Police Department, San Bernardino County departments and San Bernardino Unified School District Police.
On July 2, Beverly was finally arrested in Temecula outside a Best Western Inn where he was allegedly trafficking his victims. He was first booked into West Valley Detention Center on 11 felony counts of pimping, pandering and human trafficking of minors and an adult. Beverly is currently being held at the Adelanto Detention Center in Adelanto, Calif., with a bail set for $1 million.
Initially, officers were not able to identify or locate Beverly, who used the internet to post disguised advertisements for sex with young girls in exchange for money.
On July 2, Lefler found a website ad for prostitution that he believed was placed by Beverly. Task force investigators immediately went undercover contacting Beverly through the advertisement and were directed to a hotel in the 27000 block of Jefferson Avenue in Temecula.
Task force members were able to identify the room affiliated with Beverly’s advertisement along with his vehicle in the parking lot and kept surveillance on the room. Upon leaving, with the assistance from the Temecula PD, task force members conducted a traffic stop of Beverly’s vehicle – which led to his arrest without incident.
When investigators searched the room, they discovered another victim who had also been coerced from the advertisement. The victim was taken into protective services for additional questioning.
A San Jacinto woman who resides in the San Jacinto Villa Apartments claiming to be Beverly’s neighbor said he was “a good man.”
When the information hit the public media, and she was made aware of the story, she couldn’t believe the news herself. “Everyone in the complex was extremely shocked. He was always friendly, very kind and easy to approach. I just don’t know how he could be capable of these allegations,” said the mother whose child played with Beverly’s children everyday in their complex off Santa Fe Avenue.
This is still an ongoing investigation that is believed to have more victims. Investigators request that anyone who might have information come forward and call the San Bernardino County Human Trafficking Task Force Station at (909) 387-8400 for Cpl. Nick Lefler with reference to Case No. OPD #180401202 SBSD #621700427. Anyone who wishes to remain anonymous can call WE-TIP 1 (888) 78-CRIME or leave a message online at www.wetip.com
Editor’s Note: Denielle Pilkington contributed to this story with research and information necessary for the full coverage of this incident.