The newly elected chair of University of St. Thomas’ College Republicans was arrested in Florida on sex trafficking charges, officials at the Minneapolis division of the FBI confirmed with Your Content Saturday night.
Jail records show that Gisela Castro Medina faces charges for conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors, sex trafficking of a minor, and obstruction. She was arrested on Thursday night and was transferred to federal custody on Friday.
They are the same charges facing GOP strategist Anton Lazzaro who was arrested by the FBI on Thursday morning. Castro Medina was caught on Thursday evening in the Florida panhandle having been labelled a “fugitive from justice.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges Lazzaro conspired with others to recruit and solicit six people under the age of 18 to engage in commercial sex between May and December of 2020.
The 30-year-old Lazzaro is being held in the Sherburne County Jail.
Lazzaro’s attorney Zachary Newland said Lazzaro is being falsely accused and did not commit the crimes he’s charged with.
Lazzaro has connections to prominent Minnesota Republicans and managed the campaign of Republican Lacy Johnson, who made an unsuccessful bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar last year.
Pictures on Lazzaro’s Facebook and Twitter accounts show him with prominent Republican politicians, including former President Donald Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
Instagram photos picture Castro Medina and Lazzaro together at an event in May.
In pictures on social media, she seen graduating last year from school in Minnesota while describing herself as someone who attends the Catholic University of St. Thomas and works at a property management company.
Authorities believe there may several victims, but have so far not shared further specifics on their case against Lazzaro, the ages of his victims, or how the allegations came to light.
According to investigators, Lazzaro conspired with Castro Medina to recruit and solicit minors for sex from May through December 2020.
He was taken into custody by FBI agents on Thursday and made his initial appearance in United States District Court before Magistrate Judge Becky Thorson.
He will remain in custody pending a formal detention hearing on Monday.
Thorson said the decision to keep Lazarro in custody stemmed from victims wanting additional protection from him, the Daily Beast reported.
‘It’s their strong wish that the United States proceed with a recommendation of detention,’ Thorson said.
According to the news outlet, federal investigators have not arrested the person believed to be the co-conspirator in this operation.
Officials raided Lazzaro’s luxury downtown Minneapolis condo last December seeking evidence regarding a person he brought into his residence.
Under the search warrant they obtained Lazzaro’s bank records and video surveillance footage from the building a week before the raid.
Lazzaro confirmed last month that his residence had been searched and claimed that “someone made a false accusation against me.”
“There’s no charges, no case, nothing political,” Lazarro explained.
His attorney Zachary Newland has previously said: “We look forward to clearing Mr. Lazzaro’s name… I think he’s innocent. They don’t have a provable case here.”
Lazarro’s political action committee has funneled over $22,000 to political entities in California, Minnesota, Michigan and New Mexico.
He has categorized himself as a ‘next-generation Republican’ who has ‘more modernized views’ and claims his PAC is looking to ‘redefine the Republican Party specifically to minority, LGBT, and women’ who have been neglected by the party.
On his personal website, Lazarro is pictured alongside former president Donald Trump and former vice president Mike Pence.
On his social media accounts, he posted photos of himself sitting on private jets, waving large sums of cash, and driving shirtless in a Ferrari.
Court records show that agents seized his 2010 convertible Ferrari, $371,240 cash together with gold bullion worth more than $931,000 together with and a similar level of silver.