Man faces human trafficking charge after Cherokee County child sex sting

Investigators said a 30-year-old man thought he was going to meet and sexually abuse a girl half his age in Cherokee County, but the ordeal landed him in handcuffs on serious charges.

Joe Luis Ruiz Jr. of Auburn was arrested Wednesday after he drove into the county with the intent of meeting a 15-year-old girl, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said.

Ruiz was electronically messaging an undercover investigator, who was pretending to be a juvenile, the sheriff’s office said in a news release. The encounter was arranged by the sheriff’s office’s Internet Crimes Against Children Unit.

Ruiz was arrested shortly after noon on counts of human trafficking, criminal attempt to commit child molestation and child exploitation, the release said.

In addition, the sheriff’s office said Ruiz had two firearms, marijuana and THC oil in his vehicle during his arrest. Those items led to two felony firearm possession charges and a drug possession charge.

No other information, such as the location of the meeting place, was released.

Ruiz remains in the Cherokee County jail without bond, the sheriff’s office said.

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