TBI Arrests 18 Suspects Amid Human Trafficking Operation
Special agents from a human trafficking unit have arrested 18 men as part of a two-day special undercover operation in Tennessee, authorities announced.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) identified all the suspects in a statement on Monday. The men ranged in age from 24 to 53 and were booked into the Maury County Jail.
Most of the suspects were local Tennessean citizens, with two of the men coming from Louisiana, one from Florida, and one from Alabama.
The agency said the mission started on July 8 and was assisted by the FBI, Spring Hill Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, and the office of 22nd District Attorney General Brent Cooper.
As special agents sought to address human trafficking in Middle Tennessee, officials started to place multiple decoy advertisements on websites that were known to be connected to prostitution and commercial sex cases.
Over the two-day special operation, investigators worked to identify possible human trafficking victims and identify suspects who wanted to pay for sex with minors.
“The focus of the operation was to identify and recover potential victims of human trafficking as well as identify those seeking to engage in commercial sex acts with minors,” the TBI said.
All of the suspects were charged with either solicitation or patronizing prostitution from a minor.
Authorities said that the investigation is still ongoing and additional charges are pending.