NORTH MIAMI (CBSMiami) - A man wanted in connection to a human trafficking investigation was taken into custody by SWAT teams at a North Miami condominium.
The State Attorney’s Office says 46-year-old David Llama Lopez was arrested for trying to lure two high school girls into prostitution.
Tuesday afternoon officers from the Miami and North Miami police departments descended on the Dome condo building at 2100 San Souci Boulevard.
Neighbors said Lopez was living in a 15th floor unit with his brother and seemed like a normal guy. Most never imagined he would be accused of exploiting girls.
“Was a very nice friendly guy, would always say hi to my dogs and he actually invited me over a few times to come hang out,” said neighbor Natalie Garson. “I was astonished, very in shock when the police were taking him down.”
The property manager of the building said a few dozen residents were temporarily evacuated from their homes as a safety precaution while SWAT teams worked to take Lopez in to custody. Police were concerned Lopez could have been armed. He reportedly barricaded himself inside the apartment and would not come out for several hours but eventually surrendered peacefully.
“Advised us to evacuate everyone on 15th floor,” said David Clattenburg, the property manager. “They tried to talk him out most of the evening, he would not open the door… Police stood guard outside until they had the warrant to force entry which they didn’t have to do.”
Lopez is facing several charges including human trafficking, procuring a person(s) under 18 years for prostitution and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
“Those who think they can make a living by selling our children to the highest bidders had better think again. Our community is united with our police departments to end this awful, awful trade,” said Miami- Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle in a statement.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office said this human trafficking investigation was not related to another one earlier this year in which a 13-year was forced into prostitution and work as a dancer at Club Madonna on Miami Beach. Four people have been charged with human trafficking in that case. They’ve all pleaded not guilty. If convicted, they face life in prison.