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More than Two Dozen Arrested in Human Trafficking Operation

(FORT BEND COUNTY) - Twenty-nine men have been arrested following a Human Trafficking Operation after the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office collaborated with the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance and partnering agencies to conduct a multi-day proactive operation in late January 2023.

The partner agencies included the Fort Bend County Attorney’s Office, Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office, Missouri City Police Department, Houston Police Department, Department of Public Safety, and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

Operation New Year was a buyer suppression operation in Sugar Land targeting illicit sexually oriented businesses and resulted in 29 arrests. The operation aimed to combat human trafficking in Fort Bend County by identifying and arresting those intending to buy sex. Commonly known as “johns,” they create the demand for human trafficking and contribute to the pervasive problem the community faces from these crimes.

The Fort Bend County Attorney shut down an illicit massage business under their authority to regulate and remove such commercial enterprises. Through a cooperative effort with the property owner, the tenant was evicted, and the illegal operation came to an end. The location was then used to stage an undercover operation where law enforcement received solicitations for sex from prospective buyers.

Fort Bend County District Attorney Brian Middleton congratulated the team on the results and further stressed the importance of being proactive.

“Our goal is to keep our community safe from crime and eradicate human trafficking in its entirety. Once again, we partnered with other law enforcement agencies to conduct a sting operation. In this operation, we targeted prospective sex buyers,” said Middleton. “Again, whether in a residential neighborhood or commercial establishment, we are watching. Fort Bend County is, and will continue to be, one the safest places to live because of operations like this. We are setting the tone – do not come to Fort Bend County to commit crime.”

County Attorney Bridgette Smith-Lawson added that, “the fight against human trafficking is something that we all must join in to save lives. It’s not just an effort of one office or one official, it is an undertaking that all of us in leadership and in our communities must join together to fight. My office will use the civil remedies of injunctive relief and civil penalties to compliment the criminal law enforcement approach being led by District Attorney Brian Middleton, Sheriff Eric Fagan, and other local law enforcement agencies. Human trafficking and sex trafficking are driven by supply and demand. If we get rid of these massage parlors, also known as illicit massage parlors, we can reduce the supply in our county and drive this activity out of our county. Together we can make Fort Bend safer for our children and for everyone.”

Thirty-one charges were filed, including solicitation of prostitution, resisting arrest, and drug-related charges.

Timothy James, Sohrab Mehdi, Shamar Wedderburn, Suku Nair, Sean Collins, Samuel Soto, Ronald Migas, Omar Ahmad, Rodney Crayton, Rudy Castillo, Richard Peery, Oswaldo Vinueza, Muhammad Azan, Lorenz Natividad, Kapil Malhotra, Marco Fortin, Joseph Wiesner, Joshua Ehler, Herman Crawford, John Gonzales, Jonathan Do, Jerry Smith, Aqeel Ali, Gerardo Vasquez, Essey Bihon, Christopher Davis, Dairon Peacock, Abdallah Hamed, Amr Harun.


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