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Married couple accused of sex trafficking 2 teens in North Highlands

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NORTH HIGHLANDS — A husband and wife who were arrested in North Highlands are accused of sex trafficking two 17-year-old girls, authorities said Monday.

John Cheso, 46, and Shannon Powell, 35, are both scheduled to appear in court this week—Powell on Tuesday and Cheso on Wednesday. Cheso is being held on a bail of $2 million and Powell's bail was set at $1 million.

Mugshot of John Cheso, 46 Sacramento County Sheriff's Office
Mugshot of Shannon Powell, 35 Sacramento County Sheriff's Office

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Office said a deputy rescued a young sex trafficking victim near Watt Avenue and Winona Way on Sunday. Later that same night, the deputy returned to the area and saw the two 17-year-olds standing near a vehicle while wearing lingerie.

Both teens told the deputy they were victims of sex trafficking and that Cheso and Powell were family friends who they referred to as their "street parents," the sheriff's office said.

Cheso and Powell were located and arrested soon after. The sheriff's office said it is believed they may have additional victims and asked that anyone with information on the pair contact authorities.

The sheriff's office did not say if the girl located earlier in the day was connected to the couple.

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