MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A now-suspended student at the University of St. Thomas, who is accused of aiding a top Republican donor and activist to traffic minors for sex, is now in custody in Minnesota.
Gisela Castro Medina, 19, is in custody at Sherburne County Jail, according to jail records. She made an appearance in court Thursday where she pleaded not guilty to her charges.
In August, Medina was arrested in Florida on federal sex trafficking charges. Shortly after her arrest, Medina appeared in court before a federal judge in Florida, who unsealed the indictment naming her as a co-defendant who allegedly aided Anton “Tony”Lazzaro. They both face federal charges for allegedly recruiting six minor victims to engage in commercial sex acts, federal prosecutors say.
Lazzaro gave tens of thousands of dollars to Republican campaigns, party units and political action committees in recent years, and his close ties to Jennifer Carnahan — the state party chairwoman at the time charges were filed — prompted calls for her resignation. She later stepped down.
Minnesota College Republicans in a statement condemned the allegations against Medina, the chair of St. Thomas’s GOP chapter. The group said it’s “absolutely disgusted by the actions of Ms. Medina, and have cut all ties with her effective immediately.”
Meanwhile, Lazzaro will remain in jail until his trial on federal sex trafficking charges.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer, citing the nature of the charges, rejected the request of Lazzaro’s defense who sought pretrial home confinement in his downtown Minneapolis condo. Instead, Lazzaro will remain detained until his trial, which is scheduled for Oct. 18. He pleaded not guilty to all 10 charges against him.
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