Grooming Gangs: 13 Arrested In Child Sex Grooming And Exploitation Investigation In Arkansas

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Over 25 victims identified in the last month alone.

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) – An investigation by federal and local authorities has resulted in the arrests of 13 people in a suspected sex trafficking case in the region.

According to a post on the Jonesboro Police Department Facebook page, Jonesboro police and Homeland Security Investigations worked on an investigation called “Operation S.U.I.T (Stopping Underage Illegal Trafficking)” this week.

Officials said the investigation helped identify underage and adult victims of sex trafficking in Northeast Arkansas.

“The operation was in support of ’2020 Human Trafficking’ month to combat this growing problem in our community. This enforcement action resulted in 13 arrests and six victims being rescued,” Jonesboro police said in the post.

In addition to Homeland Security and JPD, the Craighead County Sheriff’s Department, FBI, Arkansas State University police, Hope Found, Juvenile Court, and Probation, Trumann police, the local hotel industry, and the Craighead County Health Department worked on the case.

“(They) all joined forces in executing this highly successful operation resulting in identifying more than 25 victims in our area within the past month,” officials said.

Officials did not release the names of the people arrested in the case due to victim safety concerns. However, more details are expected to be released as early as Feb. 3, officials said.

Jonesboro police announced in December that an agent with Homeland Security has been added to the department to help educate officers and local residents about the issue of child sex trafficking.

Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott said at the time that the addition, along with work of the Internet Crimes Against Children Division at the department, shows a proactive approach to the issue.

“There are victims out there that we’d like to get identified, get them out of this and then get them the help they’re going to need instead of being caught up in this ongoing cycle,” Elliott said.

Albion Times will have more information once it becomes available.

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