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Human Trafficking Near Phoenix
86 Found in Human Trafficking Incident
The Phoenix Police Department along with Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton announced Thursday their completion of a recent vice operation. According to officials, the completion of the recent human trafficking operation resulted in 86 criminal arrests in just 10 days.
Undercover detectives opened a massage parlor and arrested patrons who wanted them to perform sexual acts.
The arrests occurred last December near the area of 7th Street and Greenway Road.
The suspects were men and their ages ranged from 22 to 78 years.
Mayor Stanton said that the task force has made the city get tougher on enforcement.
Mayor Stanton’s Statement:
That’s why we created the human trafficking task force four years ago. To bring together outstanding community leaders, partners, to offer our city resources and to make sure we are taking the lead on ending human trafficking in our community.
Mayor Stanton added that the task force is turning the city of Phoenix “into a national model for combating human trafficking.”
Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said the arrests were a reminder of what a huge impact sex trafficking has on the community.
Chief Jeri Williams Statement:
It’s a global issue, but that’s not stopping us in the city from taking advantages that we have in our partnerships and Councilman (Jim) Waring alluded to this a little bit, every arrest counts.
Phoenix police say they’ll continue with these investigations and arrest “anyone participating in this criminal behavior.”
Mayor Stanton said that if the public sees something, they should say something and call the national hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
Four Arizona juveniles have been rescued from sex trafficking through the FBI’s Operation Cross Country XI, according to officials.
Seven alleged Arizona traffickers were arrested during the four-day nationwide effort that focused on underage human trafficking. Nationally, 84 minors were rescued and 120 suspected traffickers were arrested.
Michael Caputo’s (Special Agent) Statement:
This crime has no boundaries and can impact any child, of any race or ethnicity, anywhere from large cities to small-town communities.
the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and Phoenix Police Department helped rescue the four juveniles. In total, nine Arizona police departments and four sheriff’s offices were involved in the operation.
This is the 11th iteration of Operation Cross Country and involved 55 field offices and 78 local and state task forces across the U.S.
As part of the operation, the FBI and task-force agents set up in hotels, casinos, truck stops, street corners and websites to try and rescue juveniles. The average age of victims was 15 years old and the youngest victim was 3 months old, the FBI reports.
Examples of stories the FBI released detail undercover agents being offered sexual favors from friends of a minor’s family or online advertisements. One agent was asked to pay $600.
Minors rescued in the operation are offered assistance from state protective services and the FBI’s Victim Services Division. Victims who require more attention are offered medical care and mental-health counseling.
The FBI said it contacted 86 adult victims in Arizona and offered resources.
Operation Cross Country began as part of the FBI’s Innocence Lost National Initiative, which was founded in 2003.
Police have arrested two men accused of child sex trafficking multiple victims in Arizona and Texas.
Mesa police say 24-year-old Oshay Small and 21-year-old Cornelius Wells were arrested near Metro Center Mall following a five-month investigation into the sexual exploitation and trafficking of 15-year-old girls through the website Backpage.com.
Police say the suspects first contacted the victims through Facebook and began exploiting them several days later. The victims left home and were reported as runaways while they were being exploited, according to police.
Investigators say an additional juvenile female and two adult females were also being exploited and some of the victims were transported to Tucson and El Paso, Texas.
The suspects allegedly used Backpage.com to advertise and locate buyers, and they received proceeds from exploiting the victims.
Mesa police detectives located the suspects at a hotel near Metro Center Mall where they were taken into custody. An adult female victim was with the suspects at the time of their arrest.
Sex Trafficking Victim
Both suspects face multiple counts of child sex trafficking.
Small is being held on $75,000 bond and Wells is being held on $50,000 bond.
If you have any information on someone being trafficked, you’re asked to contact your local police department or the National Human Trafficking hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or humantraffickinghotline.org.
In the United States, a Federal Crime or Federal Offense is an act that is made illegal by U.S. Federal legislation. In the United States, criminal law and prosecution happen at both the federal and state levels; thus a “federal crime” is one that is prosecuted under federal criminal law, and not under a state’s criminal law, under which most of the crimes committed in the United States are prosecuted. Whether a crime is considered Federal or State jurisdiction often depends on the location of the crime and where it falls within US State or territory lines. Numerous federal agencies have been granted powers to investigate federal offenses to include, but are not limited to the ATF, DEA, FBI, ICE, IRS, and the Secret Service. Federal crimes may include:
- Tax Evasion
- Possession of Weapons Banned by the National Firearms Act
- Vehicular Manslaughter
- Mail Fraud
- Aircraft Hijacking
- Bank Robbery
- Child Pornography
- Art Theft
- Damaging or Destroying Public Mailboxes
- Immigration Offenses
- The Assassination or Attempted Assassination of the President or Vice President
- Drug-Related Offenses
Difference Between Federal and State Cases
It is important to understand that federal criminal cases are different from state cases. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines provide courts with significant guidance in such cases. Federal drug cases often involve mandatory prison sentences, as stated above. In addition, federal prosecutors often wait until they have a very strong case before bringing charges, so the government may have considerable evidence it intends to use against you at any potential future trial.
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2942 N. 24th St.
Phoenix, AZ 85008