Republican operative convicted of teen sex trafficking
Anton Lazzaro (Photo: federal mugshot and social media)

A Minnesota Republican political operative was convicted of orchestrating a sex trafficking conspiracy involving juvenile females, the Department of Justice said in a news release.

Anton “Tony” Lazzaro, 32 of Minneapolis, was convicted on one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors and five counts of sex trafficking of minors, the agency said.

His co-defendant, Gisela Castro Medina, 20, pleaded guilty Dec. 19, 2022, to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors and one count of obstruction.

Lazzaro alleged that he was the victim of political persecution over his deep ties to the GOP, The Daily Beast reports.

He contributed to Republican candidates for almost a decade and was on the shortlist of “alternate” electors for Minnesota’s GOP slate, the report said.

Lazzaro is described in the report as “a wannabe playboy on Instagram who used his riches to pump up the Minnesota Republican Party and recruit teenage girls for sex.”

“This judgment of guilt means that Mr. Lazzaro will never again be able to use his fortune to manipulate young, vulnerable girls for his benefit. Few crimes are as heinous as the sexual exploitation of minors,” FBI Special Agent Alvin M. Winston said in a statement.

“The FBI and its law enforcement partners are dedicated to safeguarding the most vulnerable members of society and will continue to use all available resources to investigate anyone who engages in such predatory criminal activity.”

Prosecutors said Lazzaro conspired with Castro Medina to recruit young girls – aged 15 to 16 – for sex with him in exchange for cash and other items of value.

Lazzaro met Castro Medina in May of 2020 through the Seeking Arrangements website, which is known as a “sugar daddy” website.

He directed Castro Medina to identify "broken girls" of certain skin color, petite body type and those who were considered vulnerable, the DOJ said.

He paid Castro Medina more than $50,000 for her role recruiting the girls.

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Prosecutors said Lazzaro would send rideshare vehicles to transport the juveniles to his luxury condo and once sent a driver to pick up a group of 14 and 15-year-olds from a slumber party.

Lazzaro served the girls alcohol and offered them precise sums of money to perform various sex acts.

He carried out this trafficking scheme from May 2020 through December 2020.

As part of her guilty plea, Castro Medina admitted that in March 2021, she and Lazzaro agreed to pay off a 15-year-old victim to prevent her from talking to law enforcement about engaging in commercial sex with Lazzaro.

“Lazzaro’s wealth and privilege helped him facilitate these crimes but did not shield him from justice,” said Superintendent Drew Evans of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.”

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