SMYRNA, Tenn. (WTVF) — Sixteen men were caught by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations during a two-day human trafficking sting in Rutherford County.
TBI set up decoy advertisements on websites, looking to identify people wanted to engage in "commercial sex acts" with minors.
The following 16 men were arrested for trafficking a person for a commercial sex act and booked into the Rutherford County Jail during the sting:
- James H. Farmer, 55, of Franklin
- Deadrick Darrell Evans, 20, of Murfreesboro
- Miguel Erazo, 43, of Antioch
- Luis Miguel Garcia-Alvarez, 34, of La Vergne
- Paul Florez-Vazquez, 30, of Nashville
- Jose Guadalupe Zarate-Flores, 39, of Smyrna
- Taylor Moore, 23, of Rombauer, Missouri
- Tony Maddox, 38, of Cowan, Texas
- Gameel Mesad, 55, of La Vergne
- John Thomas Sulkowski, 24, of Murfreesboro
- Juan Manual Tovar, 47, of Antioch
- Harry Garcia, 44, of Murfreesboro
- Michael Romero, 31, of Prospect
- Lian Sian Thang, 32, of Smyrna
- Manasranjan Murlidhar Rana, 31, of Nashville
- Diego Mancilla Martinez, 46, of La Vergne
Their images were shared in a tweet from the TBI.
Josh DeVine, the Communications Director for the TBI, said the results from the operation were almost instant.
"Low and behold, many of these men showed up to our operation and instead of wanting to have sex with a 16 year old, they were met with some of our toughest law enforcement officers," said DeVine.
The TBI has four agents dedicated to investigating human trafficking cases across the state, and regularly investigate tips from the Human Trafficking Hotline.
"This is a crime that cuts across demographics," said DeVine. "If you think you know who the buyers are, you would be incredibly surprised."
The organization End Slavery Tennessee provides services to victims and survivors of human trafficking. CEO Margie Quin said most victims are contacted by predators online. Juveniles who have endured poverty, addiction, and early childhood sexual abuse are especially vulnerable to sex trafficking.
"Demand drives the industry of sex trafficking," said Quin. "If there wasn’t a demand to have sex with children, there wouldn’t be survivors of sex trafficking."
If you see someone who you suspect is a victim of human trafficking, call the Tennessee Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-855-558-6484.
For more information on End Slavery Tennessee visit https://www.endslaverytn.org/
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