October 13, 2015

FBI Announces Results of Nationwide Human Trafficking Operation

Officials from the FBI, in conjunction with its many and varied law enforcement and non-government agency partners, announced today that 149 underage trafficking victims were recovered and 153 pimps were arrested in a nationwide human trafficking operation conducted throughout the United States last week. The initiative, dubbed Operation Cross Country IX, is a national effort spearheaded by the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, along with state and local law enforcement partners across the country. The initiative, now in its ninth year, targets the criminal enterprises responsible for the commercial sex trafficking of children.

The youngest victim in this year’s operation was 12 years old. Of the 149 victims recovered, three of those minors were transgender, and three were males. During the operation, 90 victim specialists provided on-scene direct services to the victims of sex trafficking while 105 child victims received on-site direct services, which may have included crisis intervention and resources for basic needs like medical, food, clothing, and shelter. Due to the size of the operation, FBI victim specialists coordinated with local law enforcement victim advocates and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who provided additional support to the victims. In Georgia, FBI officials announced that seven child victims were recovered, and nine individuals were arrested on charges related to pimping as part of this nationwide law enforcement effort.

Arrested and charged with state-related sex trafficking charges are:

  • Amanda Mcconnell, age 39, arresting agency: Alpharetta Police Department
  • Kevin Lashawn Adams, age 37, of Atlanta, arresting agency: Dekalb Police Department
  • Hadrian Crichlow, age 34, arresting agency: Dekalb Police Department
  • Shannon Mussa, age 24, arresting agency: Alpharetta Police Department
  • Latoya Tamara Taylor, age 33, of Cleveland, Ohio, arresting agency: Cobb County Police Department
  • Sharnece Joyner, age 24, arresting agency: Marietta Police Department
  • Kelvin Howard, age 60, of Decatur, arresting agency: Clayton County Police Department
  • Christopher J. Pudwill, age 30, of Kathleen, arresting agency: Perry Police Department
  • Billy Dewayne Denson, age 40, of Warner Robins, arresting agency: Perry Police Department

“Human trafficking is a monstrous and devastating crime that steals lives and degrades our nation,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “As a result of the FBI’s outstanding coordination and exemplary efforts alongside state and local partners during Operation Cross Country, more children will sleep safely tonight, and more wrongdoers will face the judgment of our criminal justice system. The Department of Justice will continue to aggressively and persistently fight this heinous crime, and to hold its perpetrators accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

Operation Cross Country IX is the largest in the nine-year history of the initiative, with 53 FBI field offices and 73 Child Exploitation Task Forces, which include federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, taking part in the operation in 135 cities across America, including the state of Georgia. Nationwide, more than 500 law enforcement officials, including investigators and officers from federal, state, and local law enforcement organizations, conducted both “in-call” and “out-call” operations in hotels, casinos, truck stops, and in other areas known to be frequented by prostitutes, sex-traffickers, and their customers.

J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated, “The FBI and its many task force partners are committed to not only providing significant investigative assets but also leadership toward the overall law enforcement effort in identifying and apprehending those who would exploit our nation’s youth while also making every effort to recover and assist those youths being exploited. This year’s effort by all of those agencies involved, both law enforcement and otherwise, is a testament to that commitment.”

“We’re proud to partner with the FBI and provide support to both law enforcement and victim specialists in the field as they work to locate and recover survivors of child sex trafficking,” said Linda Krieg, Acting Chief Executive Officer of NCMEC. “The number of children recovered and pimps arrested in this year’s operation highlights the importance of these efforts today and every day in protecting our children from exploitation.”

Georgia’s participating agencies in this year’s Operation Cross Country IX are as follows:

FBI, Atlanta Police Department, Gwinnett County Police Department, Alpharetta Police Department, Norcross Police Department, Dekalb County Police Department, Cobb County Police Department, Smyrna Police Department, Marietta Police Department, Clayton County Police Department, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, Pooler Police Department, Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, Dunwoody Police Department, Fulton County Schools Police Department, Johns Creek Police Department, Cobb County Sheriff’s Office, Gainesville Police Department, Hall County Sheriff’s Office, Richmond County Marshal’s Office, Houston County Sheriff’s Office, Perry Police Department, Port Wentworth Police Department, Georgia Department of Community Supervision, Homeland Security Investigations, Georgia Attorney General’s Office, Georgia Cares, Out of Darkness, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Rainbow House, and the Department of Family and Children Services.

Operation Cross Country is part of the FBI’s Innocence Lost national initiative, which began in 2003. Since the program’s inception, more than 4,800 children have been recovered from underage prostitution and prosecutors have obtained more than 2,000 convictions, including at least 15 that have resulted in life sentences. For additional information on Operation Cross Country IX and the Innocence Lost initiative, please visit www.fbi.gov.

Related story and raw footage:
- Operation Cross Country: Recovering Victims of Child Sex Trafficking