HUMAN TRAFFICKING

‘Operation: Temptation’ sting nets 23 arrests

By BRIAN GRAVES Banner Staff Writer
Posted 1/11/17

The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office recently completed “Operation: Temptation” which resulted in 23 arrests, all dealing with prostitution and drugs.

The official announcement ironically …

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HUMAN TRAFFICKING

‘Operation: Temptation’ sting nets 23 arrests

Posted

The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office recently completed “Operation: Temptation” which resulted in 23 arrests, all dealing with prostitution and drugs.

The official announcement ironically comes on what is now designated “Human Trafficking Awareness Day,” which began in 2010 by presidential proclamation.

This is the second concentrated effort on human trafficking by the department since its first, “Operation: Clean Sweep,” which netted 13 involved in the sex and drugs trade — some from as far away as New York.

“Human trafficking,” according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and state laws, makes patronizing prostitution from a person younger than 18 a felony; restitution must be paid to victims, by defendants, for the offenses of patronizing prostitution, trafficking for commercial sex acts, solicitation of a minor for sexual purposes, and enlisting or paying a minor to engage in child pornography; promoting the prostitution of a child is a Class A or B (the most serious) felony.

Sheriff Eric Watson said almost without exception these cases involve drugs.

The sheriff said with Bradley County located on Interstate 75, a stretch of road recognized by most law enforcement agencies as a main artery for illegal drugs, the BCSO “keeps a watch for criminals who either pass through our area on the interstate or attempt to set up shop here.”

Watson said his department recently received intelligence suggesting human trafficking was coming back into the county.

“I created a special Streets Crime Unit to look into the problem,” Watson said. “The BCSO conducted a non-consecutive 72-hour undercover sting we called ‘Operation Temptation,’ with the main objective to spotlight individuals who offered sexual acts for hire and the solicitors of those acts.”

Watson said the operation began last month, resulting in the arrests of nine individuals for various prostitution charges.

“During the first phase of the operation, one of the incidents involved two people who were found with numerous drugs and possession of a stolen vehicle from Missouri,” the sheriff said. “Additionally, one of the two was a male that undercover deputies observed drive a woman to a motel room where the investigation revealed the female’s ‘pimp.’”

The second phase of the operation, which was coordinated just within the last few weeks, arrested and charged 13 people for their roles in prostitution activity and/or drug charges.

“During the operation, many of the suspects offered to exchange drugs for sexual favors, not just money,” Watson said.

In total, the BCSO operation resulted in the confiscation of approximately 14 grams of methamphetamine, 10 grams of marijuana, 80 assorted medication pills, six grams of crack cocaine and four grams of MDMA (also known as Ecstasy).

Five vehicles were also seized during the operation.

“One of the problems law enforcement agencies face is the transportation of drugs, both illegal substances and illegally obtained prescription medication,” Watson said. “Another problem is prostitution. Drug activity and prostitution both lead to the worldwide problem of human trafficking.”

The sheriff said recent numbers released by the FBI show human trafficking for the use of prostitution is the fastest growing business of organized crime and the third largest criminal enterprise in the world.

Watson has associated himself with the issue of human trafficking during his days as a state legislator, introducing legislation as well as participating in a White House seminar on the subject.

“A measureless number of individuals who engage in prostitution exploit the internet to search for opportunities to engage in illegal sexual activity,” Watson said.

“Our agency will continue to conduct covert operations in the future to curb the trend of human trafficking and prostitution activity in this area,” the sheriff continued. “It’s our goal to not only decrease these acts, but to put an end to these crimes altogether in this community.”

One of the 23 facing charges who may have familiarity within the community is Cameron Megail High, 22, who is a member of the Lee University men’s basketball team.

When asked for comment, a spokesperson for the university said they “do not have information on the situation and therefore do not have a statement at this time.”

The following is the complete list of those arrested during “Operation Temptation” including the name, age, town of residence, and the charges against them. All are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law:

— Derwin Pershun Mosbey, 28, Cordoba, Tenn.: Promotion of prostitution, possession of stolen property over $1,000, Schedule I for resale, Schedule II for resale, Schedule IV for resale and Schedule VI for resale.

— London Rene Pierce, 19, Memphis, Tenn.: Prostitution, possession of stolen property over $1,000, Schedule I for resale, Schedule II for resale, Schedule IV for resale and Schedule VI for resale.

— Jerome Arthur Uffner, 55, Marietta, Ga.: Solicitation of prostitution.

— Thomas Adam Franklin, 35, Cleveland, Tenn.: Solicitation of prostitution.

— Cameron Megail High, 22, Cleveland, Tenn.: Solicitation of prostitution.

— Dean Wilson, 52, Chattanooga, Tenn.: Solicitation of prostitution.

— Tineisha Norelle Wilkes, 25, Riverdale, Ga.: Solicitation of prostitution.

— Adrianna Bronte-Nicole Jones, 22, Allen, Texas: Prostitution and possession of Schedule IV.

— Ashley Marie Negron, 24, Dayton, Tenn.: Prostitution.

— Kenneth Dale Roberts, 58, Ringgold, Ga.: Patronizing prostitution and delivery of methamphetamine.

— Gary Claude Hilliard, 51, McDonald, Tenn.: Patronizing prostitution and delivery of Schedule VI.

— Christopher John-Melvin Rogers, 38, Lake City, Fla.: Patronizing prostitution, delivery of methamphetamine and delivery of Schedule VI.

— Jonathan Allen Torbett, 38, Delano, Tenn.: Patronizing prostitution, delivery of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

— Steven Edward Turner Jr., 25, Cleveland, Tenn.: Patronizing prostitution, possession of legend drugs, possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

— David Wayne Jaynes, 28, Cleveland, Tenn.: Prostitution.

— Nathan Jackson Thorpe, 32, Cleveland, Tenn.: Patronizing prostitution.

— Elise Victoria Wiley, 21, Cleveland, Tenn.: Prostitution.

— Dusty Lee-Ray Scott, 34, Rossville, Ga.: Patronizing prostitution, prohibited weapon, delivery of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

— Tamiko Leeshay Anderson, 21, Chattanooga, Tenn.: Prostitution, possession of Schedule II and possession of Schedule VI.

— Danielle Tierra Hubbard, 21, Chattanooga, Tenn.: Prostitution, possession of Schedule II and possession of Schedule VI.

— Jonathan Scott Culpepper, 38, East Ridge, Tenn.: Patronizing prostitution, delivery of methamphetamine, delivery of Schedule VI and drug paraphernalia.

— O’Brian Dashon Smith, 55, Cleveland, Tenn.: Criminal impersonation.

— Jessica Holiday, 30, Outstanding criminal warrant from Hamilton County, Tenn.

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