22 Arrested in Mississippi sex trafficking sting

The Federal Bureau of Intelligence has rolled out a new plan to reduce the number of child sex crimes.

Wednesday, leaders within the Jackson division of the FBI met with law enforcers from several agencies in the state, to announce the results of the project so far.

Its known is Operation Cross Country. It’s a nationwide effort that targets anyone involved with sex crimes against children.

October 7-8, the joint agency plan kicked off in Jackson. Law enforcers on a federal, state and local level worked together for 48 hours. During that time, 22 people were arrested and two teenagers were taken into state custody.

“During the first few hours of the operation, we located two 17-year-old females,” Don Alway, FBI Special Agent-in-charge, said. “One showed up to a Ridgeland motel after an undercover officer saw her ad posted online. The second 17-year-old was a runaway located in Hinds County.”

The crackdowns focused on trouble spots like hotels, casinos, truck stops, and of course the internet.

“I believe this should serve as a great deterrent especially for individuals who would do this in the city of Jackson and the surrounding area,” Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance said.

The idea behind the announcement is to send a strong message to anyone involved in these crimes.

“I would hope this is sending a message that regardless of where you are in this country, if you are in the business of sex trafficking, especially involving minors, that law enforcement is going to reach out and touch you,” Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said.

This is one of many crackdowns that will happen in Mississippi. The nearly two dozen people arrested in this round, were all from the metro. Eventually they plan to expand those busts throughout the state.

“We have today, an exposure that this is an epidemic and we’re looking not only to acknowledge its presence collectively, not just as a law enforcement problem, but as a societal problem, and address it, Alway said.



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