Nearly 70 people were arrested in the metro Atlanta area as part of an international sex trafficking and prostitution sting this week, the FBI announced on Tuesday.
The arrests were a part of a nationwide operation called Operation Cross Country X; it is the 10th FBI-led initiative of its type. According to the FBI, 82 minors were rescued and more than 239 alleged traffickers were arrested from Oct. 13 through Oct. 15.
“Operation Cross Country aims to shine a spotlight into the darkest corners of our society that seeks to prey on the most vulnerable of our population,” said FBI Director James Comey. “As part of this effort, we are not only looking to root out those who engage in the trafficking of minors, but, through our Office of Victim Assistance, we offer a lifeline to minors to help them escape a from a virtual prison no person ever deserves.”
Operations took place at a number of locations, including hotels, truck stop and street corner.s
The Metro Atlanta Child Exploitation Task Force, or MATCH, executed two search warrants, rescued one juvenile and seized seven firearms in their operation.
Five people were arrested in Alpharetta. One person was arrested in DeKalb. Four people were arrested in Dunwoody. Two people were arrested in Gwinnett County. Two people were arrested in Marietta In the Athens area, five people were arrested. One person was arrested in Augusta.
In the Athens, Ga. operation, authorities said that the suspects, ranging in age from 22 to 66, traveled to the city with the intent to meet a child and pay for sex. Their occupations included a chef, an airline employee, a delivery truck driver and a student. Two of those arrested arrived with a gun; one had illegal drugs. One suspect had alcohol for the minor. At least one of those arrested in the Athens operation admitted to prior sexual contact with a minor.
The following were arrested in Clarke County as part of the operation:
- Jennings B. Summerour, Jr., age 66, resides in Athens, GA, airline employee
- Harold C. Williams, age 47, resides in Stephens, GA, delivery truck driver
- Joshua P. Harkins, age 28, resides in Demorest, GA, chef
- Randy E. Ash, age 35, resides in Winder, GA, food services manufacturer
- Mohammed Nihal Patel, age 22, resides in Eatonton, GA, student
Also part of this operation, two suspects who wanted in the death of a 14-year-old girl were arrested in Georgia.
Orlando Police say 20-year-old Karla Michelle Quiros Alsina and 26-year-old Arthur Lee Coleman III were taken into custody in the Atlanta area along with 19-year-old Avorice Jeno Holman, and 22-year-old Jose Ignacia Santiago Sotomayor. They face multiple charges, including first-degree murder, human trafficking of a child, prostitution, racketeering and transmission of child pornography after a 14-year-old overdosed. Read more here.