MPD participates in the National Super Bowl Sex Trafficking Stin - Mid-South News, Weather, Traffic and Sports | FOX13

MPD participates in the National Super Bowl Sex Trafficking Sting

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) - -

The Memphis Police Department joined more than two dozen law enforcement agencies in a massive sex trafficking sting operation.

There were 373 arrests across the country, and 14 underage sex trafficking victims were rescued.

The MPD says a 17-year-old sex trafficking victim was rescued during this sting operation that ran 12 days.

This was part of what police call "The National Day of Johns Arrests."

It is timed to coincide with the Super Bowl.

They're facing charges for solicitation of a minor, statutory rape and patronizing prostitution.

Police say the men thought they were meeting an underage prostitute but it was all a sting operation set up by members of the MPD's Internet Crimes against Children Task Force.

In court documents police say the men thought they were setting up a meeting with a 17-year-old.  Each of the johns were booked and released on bond.

In a statement MPD Director Toney Armstrong called the Johns predators and said the operation was a success.       

Across the country 14 pimps were arrested and charged with sex trafficking but none were arrested here in Memphis.

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RELEASE FROM MPD:

A national coalition of local law enforcement agencies, including the Memphis Police Department conducted a sting operation that led to the arrests of 359 would-be sex buyers and 14 pimps/traffickers.

The seventh "National Day of Johns Arrests" ran for 12 days from January 23rd through February 2nd, culminating with the Super Bowl – an event long considered a haven for sex trafficking. The sting brought together 27 agencies throughout 15 states in a widespread crackdown on the demand for purchased sex.

These sweeps were conceived by Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart in 2011 to highlight the role of sex solicitors as perpetrators to this violent and exploitative industry. Since then, the national has grown from eight agencies to 51. The operation also targets pimps and traffickers who have forced victims into lives of prostitution.

Charges stemming from this effort include adult and juvenile felony sex trafficking, criminal solicitation of a minor, pimping, promotion of adult and juvenile prostitution and public indecency. In addition to the sex-related arrests, the sweeps yielded charges relating to drug trafficking and possession of illegal firearms.

The Memphis Police Department arrested the following eight (8) people for Promoting Prostitution (felony), Solicitation of a Minor to wit Aggravated Statutory Rape or Solicitation of a Minor to wit Statutory Rape (misdemeanor):

  • Marquis Martin, male, 26: charged with Patronizing Prostitution and Solicitation of a Minor to wit Statutory Rape
  • James Smith, male, 41: charged with Patronizing Prostitution and Solicitation of a Minor to wit Aggravated Statutory Rape
  • Samuel Norris, male, 46: charged with Patronizing Prostitution and Solicitation of a Minor to wit Aggravated Statutory Rape
  • Clifton Palmer, male, 33: charged with Patronizing Prostitution and Solicitation of a Minor to wit Aggravated Statutory Rape
  • Aaron Branch, male, 25: charged with Patronizing Prostitution and Solicitation of a Minor to wit Aggravated Statutory Rape
  • Rickey Warren, male, 50: charged with Patronizing Prostitution and Solicitation of a Minor to wit Aggravated Statutory Rape
  • Michael Morgan, male, 44: charged with Patronizing Prostitution and Solicitation of a Minor to wit Aggravated Statutory Rape
  • Merly Valle, male, 34: charged with Patronizing Prostitution and Solicitation of a Minor to wit Aggravated Statutory Rape 

"These johns are predators in the same community that this police department works to keep safe. Our Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) investigators and officers will continue to work hard in the fight against exploitation of minors and sexual servitude. This operation proved to be a success", said Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong.

The Super Bowl sting's results reflect growing momentum for this national campaign. Across the seven operations over a three year stretch, the collaborative effort has resulted in the arrests of 1,832 total johns.

Cumulative numbers from the "National Day of Johns Arrests" campaign are as follows:

  • Arrest totals
    • 373 arrests
    • 359 sex solicitation arrests (johns)
    • 14 sex trafficking/pimping arrests 
  • Additional penalties for the johns
    • $149,470 in minimum potential fines
    • 144 cars towed/forfeited from johns
    • 8 weapons seized from johns
    • 14 narcotics charges for johns
    • 7 johns taken into custody due to outstanding warrants
    • 5 johns taken into custody for either resisting or evading arrest 
  • Victims/Prostitutes
    • 31 prostitutes recovered
    • 17 adults, 14 juveniles 

Noteworthy anecdotes from the sweep include:

  • The Memphis Police Department recovered a 17-year-old trafficking victim; and confiscated a weapon from a john
  • Harris County Sheriff's Office arrested a Harris County Constable Precinct 4 deputy (who was wearing his uniform trousers at the time) as part of its johns sting
  • St. Paul PD arrested a pimp who had been holding two 18-year-old girls against their will
  • LAPD arrested a pimp who drove all the way from Arizona to collect what he thought was a new recruit; LAPD's undercover officers found that he brought an 18-year-old girl who he had forced into prostitution, with her 5-year-old son in the car as well (they have been rescued)
  • The Cook County Sheriff's Office, Harris County law enforcement, Indianapolis PD, Phoenix PD and the Greenville County Sheriff's Office  all arrested in excess of 30 johns during the sting
  • The collective efforts of Harris County law enforcement resulted in 48 johns arrests, the most of any agency
  • Dayton PD arrested 5 pimps and sex traffickers, the most of any agency

Agencies who participated in the Super Bowl sting include:

  1. Memphis  PD (Tennessee)
  2. Phoenix PD (Arizona)
  3. Los Angeles PD (California)
  4. San Jose PD (California)
  5. Aurora PD (Illinois)
  6. Cook County Sheriff's Office  (Illinois)
  7. Lansing PD (Illinois)
  8. Lake County Sheriff's Office (Illinois)
  9. Indianapolis PD (Indiana)
  10. Boston PD (Massachusetts)
  11. Homeland Security Investigations (Massachusetts)
  12. St. Paul PD (Minnesota)
  13. Las Vegas PD (Nevada)
  14. Cincinnati PD (Ohio)
  15. Dayton PD (Ohio)
  16. Sharonville PD (Ohio)
  17. Portland PD (Oregon)
  18. Bergen County Prosecutors Office (New Jersey)
  19. New Jersey FBI (New Jersey)
  20. Minot PD (North Dakota)
  21. Greenville County Sheriff's Office (South Carolina)
  22. Dallas PD (Texas)
  23. Harris County Sheriff's Office (Texas)
  24. Harris County Constable Precinct 3 (Texas)
  25. Harris County Constable Precinct 4 (Texas)
  26. Newport News PD (Virginia)
  27. Seattle PD (Washington)

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