A 19-year-old Minnesota woman is facing federal sex trafficking charges after being arrested and booked into a Florida jail.
Gisela Castro Medina, formerly the chairperson of the Minnesota College Republicans chapter at the University of St. Thomas, was being held in Okaloosa County, Florida, and is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors, five counts of sex trafficking of minors and one count of obstruction. She will be transported to Minnesota by request of the Minnesota FBI.
The Minnesota Republican Party says Castro Medina has a direct tie with Anton Lazzaro, who was arrested earlier this week in a child sex-trafficking scheme.
Castro Medina was booked in Okaloosa County on Thursday evening and released Friday afternoon. Records show that she was booked into jail in Santa Rosa County, Florida, on Friday afternoon.
“The arrest and charges involving Ms. Gisela Castro Medina, in conjunction with Thursday’s arrest and sex trafficking charges of Mr. Anton Lazzaro, are heinous and disturbing,” Republican Party of Minnesota Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan wrote in a statement Saturday. “Conviction of these charges warrants punishment to the fullest extent of the law and we fully anticipate justice will be served.”
The Minnesota College Republicans also issued a statement condemning her actions.
“It was brought to my attention that … St. Thomas Chair Gisela Castro Medina was arrested alongside Anton Lazzaro . … We as an organization are absolutely disgusted by the actions of Ms. Medina, and have cut all ties with her effective immediately,” current Chair Nia Moore wrote Saturday.
The University of St. Thomas told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Saturday that Castro Medina is enrolled as a second-year student, but that any student charged with a felony will be interim suspended. St. Thomas corrected their statement from earlier that she was not enrolled.
“The details of these allegations are very disturbing and saddening,” a spokesperson for St. Thomas said. “St. Thomas condemns these actions and we pray for the victims. Under our student code of conduct, St. Thomas students charged with a felony will be interim suspended pending further proceedings.”
Carnahan stressed that the GOP has “no jurisdiction” over Minnesota College Republicans, though they “work for the same cause.”
The Minnesota FBI and Okaloosa County Jail have not yet responded to phone calls from 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.
GOP strategist Anton Lazzaro, who is facing federal charges for child sex trafficking, had his hearing Monday rescheduled for Aug. 24.