Man from Hurricane arrested in human trafficking sting operation
BRISTOL, TN (WSAZ) - A two-day undercover operation by special agents resulted in the arrest of eleven men, including a man from Hurricane, West Virginia.
According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the eleven men are accused of seeking illicit sex from minors.
James Stephen Samples, 50, of Hurricane, has been charged with two counts of solicitation of a minor and two counts of patronizing prostitution of a minor.
Samples was booked into the Sullivan County Jail. His bond has been set at $50,000.
Over a two-day period beginning March 9, officials say several decoy advertisements were placed on websites known to be linked to prostitution and commercial sex cases.
The focus of the operation was to identify individuals seeking to engage in commercial sex acts with minors.
The TBI Human Trafficking Unit, the Bristol Police Department, the 2nd Judicial District Drug Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations, and the 2nd Judicial District Attorney General’s Office all assisted in the operation.
“Because of the hard work and determination of the officers involved in this investigation and others like them who serve our community, the predators driving the demand for human trafficking can no longer hide in the shadows of the internet,” said Bristol Tennessee Police Department Chief, Matt Austin. “This operation sends the strong message that we remain vigilant and committed to the safety of our children. Be assured that the Bristol Tennessee Police Department will continue to commit its full resources to protecting our children and making sure those who harm or exploit them are held accountable.”
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