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Alleged Lazzaro accomplice pleads not guilty to seven federal charges in sex-trafficking case

She is accused of conspiring with former GOP strategist Anton Lazzaro to recruit minors to engage in "commercial sex acts."

MINNEAPOLIS — Editor's note: The video above first aired Aug. 25, 2021.

The woman accused of conspiring with former GOP strategist Anton Lazzaro to recruit minors to engage in "commercial sex acts" pleaded not guilty to seven federal charges Thursday.

Gisela Castro Medina, 19, made her first Minnesota court appearance via video conference. She is charged with of one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors, five counts of sex trafficking of minors, and one count of obstruction. 

Castro Medina was initially arrested in Florida in August, but has since been returned to Minnesota. She was booked into the Sherburne County Jail Wednesday, but has been released to house arrest through a personal recognizance bond with conditions. 

Under these conditions, Castro Medina must submit to home detention at an approved halfway house or community corrections center; wear a GPS tracker; not travel outside of Minnesota; limited computer and internet access; and she must agree to a mental health evaluation and treatment for substance abuse therapy if directed.

She is also ordered to have no contact with Lazzaro, or children under 18 unless an adult is present who knows about the nature of her detainment.  

In a previous court hearing, a witness testified that Castro Medina would allegedly recruit teens she thought Lazzaro would take interest in, and would help facilitate encounters with him. Lazzaro is charged with 10 federal sex trafficking crimes.

According to the Minnesota College Republicans, Castro Medina was the organization's University of St. Thomas chair. In a press release, the organization said Castro Medina was not an active member and had not yet begun officially working for it "in an official capacity."

Her trial date has not yet been set.

Lazzaro is currently being held in the Sherburne County Jail without bond. His trial date has been set to Nov. 16. 

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