Suspects identified in FBI sex trafficking and prostitution stin - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Suspects identified in FBI sex trafficking and prostitution sting

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AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -

UPDATE: We now know the identities of the suspects arrested in Augusta as part of a nationwide prostitution and sex trafficking investigation.

This operation involved 47 FBI divisions in 76 cities across the country, which included Richmond County. Operation Cross Country VII rescued 105 children being victimized through prostitution.

The 11 suspects arrested are:

-David Leon Morris

-Natasha Nicole Bush

-Kristopher Bufkin

-Ashley Reshena Washington

-Betty L. Key

-Jessica Lynn Hammond

-Casandra Kimball

-Katherine Holbert

-Katie Goetz

-Greg Luke Green

-Shanikia Howard

ORIGINAL STORY:

In a three-day crackdown on child sex trafficking, law enforcement agencies across the nation put 150 pimps behind bars during Operation Cross Country VII. Eleven of those arrests made in our area.

"We've seen for a long time as a problem that hasn't been addressed with human trafficking, and we want to combat it in every way that we can," said Sheriff Richard Roundtree. "That's why we're partnering with any agency, any group to combat this."

Richmond county's Child Exploitation Task Force arrested two suspects on exploitation and pimping-related charges and nine on prostitution related charges.

"Some elements in society, people will forget about it," Sheriff Roundtree said. "If they don't see it, they don't recognize it."

"Anyone that had any doubts that it was going on in this area, certainly can now see that we do have a trafficking issue here," said Elizabeth Smith.

Smith started "I'm Aware." Through various programs, the campaign sheds light on the children who are being sold into prostitution in the CSRA.

"I think a lot of people haven't really wanted to pay attention to the issue thinking that it wasn't something that could happen in Augusta when we know that it does," Smith said.

Smith applauds our local law enforcement for cleaning up the streets, but knows there's more work to be done; hoping the community plays a part in keeping our children safe.

"There might be that one out there that you did know was in trouble, and now you can recognize and seek help for them," Smith said.

 

Original:

During the past 72 hours, the FBI; its local, state, and federal law enforcement partners; and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) conducted Operation Cross Country VII, a three-day enforcement action to address commercial child sex trafficking throughout the United States. The operation included enforcement actions in 76 cities across 47 FBI divisions nationwide and led to the recovery of 105 children who were being victimized through prostitution. Additionally, 159 pimps were arrested on state and federal charges.

"Child prostitution remains a persistent threat to children across America," said Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division. "This operation serves as a reminder that these abhorrent crimes can happen anywhere, and the FBI remains committed to stopping this cycle of victimization and holding the criminals who profit from this exploitation accountable."

Operation Cross Country is part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative that was established in 2003 by the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division, in partnership with the Department of Justice and NCMEC, to address the growing problem of child prostitution.

"Operation Cross Country demonstrates just how many of America's children are being sold for sex every day, many on the Internet," said John Ryan, CEO of NCMEC. "We're honored and proud to partner with the FBI, which has taken the lead in tackling this escalating problem."

To date, the FBI and its task force partners have recovered more than 2,700 children from the streets. The investigations and subsequent 1,350 convictions have resulted in lengthy sentences, including 10 life terms and the seizure of more than $3.1 million in assets.

Task force operations usually begin as local enforcement actions that target truck stops, casinos, street "tracks," and websites that advertise dating or escort services, based on intelligence gathered by officers working in their respective jurisdictions. Initial arrests are often violations of local and state laws relating to prostitution or solicitation. Information gleaned from those arrested frequently uncovers organized efforts to prostitute women and children across many states. FBI agents further develop this evidence in partnership with U.S. Attorney's Offices and the U.S. Department of Justice's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section so that prosecutors can help bring federal charges in those cities where child prostitution occurs.

The Innocence Lost National Initiative brings state and federal law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and social service providers from across the country to NCMEC for training.

The FBI thanks the its local, state, and federal law enforcement partners representing more than 230 separate agencies who participated in Operation Cross Country VII and their ongoing enforcement efforts.

The following list denotes FBI divisions, not necessarily actual cities, where juveniles were recovered and pimps were arrested.

FBI DivisionJuveniles RecoveredPimps Arrested
Atlanta 2 17
Baltimore 0 3
Birmingham 3 2
Boston 3 0
Charlotte 1 3
Chicago 2 1
Cincinnati 0 2
Cleveland 1 1
Columbia 1 1
Dallas 1 1
Denver 9 6
Detroit 10 18
El Paso 0 2
Houston 3 0
Jackson 1 10
Jacksonville 0 1
Kansas City 1 1
Knoxville 0 7
Las Vegas 2 1
Los Angeles 2 3
Louisville 0 3
Memphis 3 2
Miami 0 4
Milwaukee 10 0
Minneapolis 1 4
Newark 0 5
New Haven 5 1
New Orleans 6 6
New York City 0 0
Oklahoma City 3 13
Omaha 0 1
Philadelphia 2 0
Phoenix 2 0
Pittsburgh 0 2
Portland 3 4
Sacramento 2 2
St. Louis 2 0
Salt Lake City 0 0
San Antonio 1 4
San Diego 5 6
San Francisco 12 17
Seattle 3 3
Springfield 0 2
Tampa 3 0
Washington, D.C. 0 0
Total 105 159

 

Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Mark F. Giuliano announces its results of Operation Cross Country VII, an FBI led Violent Crimes Against Children initiative targeting child exploitation/child prostitution nationwide, to include task force operations within the State of Georgia.

During the week of July 22, 2013, the Atlanta Field Office FBI's Metro Atlanta Child Exploitation Task Force (MATCH) conducted operations to identify, locate, and recover child victims of sexual exploitation for profit, to include child prostitution, and identify, locate, prosecute and/or disrupt individuals and/or criminal enterprises responsible for their sexual exploitation. In addition, the FBI led Child Exploitation Task Force based in Augusta/Richmond County, Georgia conducted similar operations there on July 17-18, 2013.

As a result of those combined law enforcement operations, two juveniles were recovered and eight adult individuals were arrested on state sexual exploitation for pimping related charges in the metro Atlanta area.  Nine individuals were arrested on prostitution related charges and two arrests were made on exploitation/pimping related charges at Augusta/Richmond County, Georgia.

The FBI Metro Atlanta Child Exploitation Task Force (MATCH) is comprised of the following law enforcement partners:

  • Atlanta Police Department
  • Gwinnett Police Department
  • Alpharetta Police Department
  • Fulton County Police Department
  • Fulton County District Attorney's Office
  • Marietta Police Department
  • Cobb County Police Department
  • Georgia Bureau of Investigation
  • Sandy Springs Police Department
  • Smyrna Police Department
  • Acworth Police Department
  • Georgia Care Connection
  • Conyers Police Department
  • Dunwoody Police Department
  • Georgia Department of Corrections

The FBI's Augusta Child Exploitation Task Force is comprised of officers from the following agencies:

  • Richmond County Sheriff's Office
  • Columbia County Sheriff's Office
  • Georgia Bureau of Investigation
  • Georgia State Pardon/Parole Office

Anyone with information regarding such activities involving child exploitation are urged to contact their nearest FBI field office or law enforcement agency.

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