A year-long investigation led to the arrests of eight people in Albany on child sex trafficking and gang charges, the GBI announced Monday.
The investigation was a coordinated effort involving the GBI’S Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit, the GBI’s Southwestern Regional Drug Enforcement Office, Georgia’s Attorney General’s Office and the Albany Police Department.
In October 2019, the Albany Police Department requested the investigative assistance of the GBI CEACC Unit regarding the commercial sexual exploitation of children, which is also known as child sex trafficking.
The request came after the Albany Police Department received a report in August 2019 regarding the rape and commercial sexual exploitation of a 16-year-old female. The female victim reported being trafficked during an almost two-month period from June 2019 through August 2019 in Albany. The trafficking of the victim ended when the juvenile victim was able to run away from her traffickers, a GBI press release issued Monday states.
The investigation reportedly discovered that the juvenile victim was posted numerous times on a specific website as an adult female. The juvenile victim was advertised for sexual interaction in exchange for money. The juvenile victim was reportedly advertised by multiple members of the Inglewood Family Gang Bloods, the release states.
According to the GBI, members of this gang reportedly made the arrangements for the juvenile to have sexual encounters with numerous men in exchange for money. The child sex trafficking occurred in multiple locations within Albany and included hotels and motels, vehicles and residences. This investigation revealed that the proceeds from the child sex trafficking were being used to finance the gang and the illegal activities of that gang.
Suspects arrested and charged for their various roles in the sex trafficking of a child victim and gang activity include Korina Johnson, 18; Robert Wingfield, 19; Jeston Yates, 29; Ronaldo Patterson, 29; Johnny Shanard Howard, 33; Tre’Shawn Malik Smith, 20; Byrant Terrell Hooker, 32; and Jamie Rosier, 30.
Smith, Hooker and Rosier were already incarcerated on unrelated charges when they were served with arrest warrants related to this investigation.
“The damages of human trafficking are difficult to repair and these young victims need plenty of assistance in getting their lives back while regaining their self-esteem,” Albany Police Chief Michael Persley said. “I will continue to pledge my support in fighting human trafficking while using all resources available to bring to justice those who prey on other human beings for the sole purpose of financial gain. I am thankful for Director Reynolds and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for their efforts in combating this detestable and devaluing crime.”