An undercover human trafficking operation in North Mississippi resulted in eight arrests and the rescue of seven victims.
Last Friday, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation launched the operation in Lee County with the assistance of state and local law enforcement agencies. The following individuals were arrested and charged in connection with the operation:
- Dewayne K. Davis, 51, was charged with Child Exploitation.
- Noe Andres Muz, 34, was charged with Child Exploitation.
- Keelan Jerome Smithy, 30, was charged with Child Exploitation.
- Willis Dewayne Traylor, 40, was charged with 2 counts of possession of methamphetamine and cocaine.
- Bobby Wade Green, 54, was charged with Promoting Prostitution.
- Keenan Hardy, 32, had three felony warrants for Domestic Violence out of Illinois and was arrested for extradition.
- Two more were charged with Promoting Prostitution, and their names will be released upon arrest.
“My administration will do whatever it takes to bring human traffickers to justice, and this operation sends a message that we won’t stand idly by while they exploit those who are most vulnerable,” Governor Tate Reeves said. “Human traffickers should think twice before stepping foot into Mississippi.”
This operation comes just weeks after Attorney General Lynn Fitch and DPS announced a new initiative aimed at raising awareness and curbing the rise of human trafficking in Mississippi.
“Human trafficking has no place in Mississippi. And, traffickers need to know that our women and children are off limits,” Attorney General Lynn Fitch said. “I am grateful for dedicated law enforcement officers, like those at the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, for their continued partnership in protecting the vulnerable. And, our work doesn’t end when the operation ends. We must support and empower victims to move forward without shame or blame. Our efforts will always be victim-first as we connect recovered individuals with the tools and resources they need to build a new life with hope and dignity.”
DPS Commissioner Sean Tindell helped launch the initiative and expressed that they’ll continue to provide services for victims while prosecuting traffickers across the state.
“The Mississippi Department of Public Safety, in conjunction with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, will continue to collaborate with local, state, and federal agencies to put an end to human trafficking in Mississippi,” said Commissioner Sean Tindell. “Our agency is committed to referring human trafficking victims to dedicated services and arresting the criminals behind their exploitation.”
The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol, Tupelo Police Department, National Guard Counterdrug Task Force, Booneville Police Department, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Restore Corps Memphis, Center for Violence Prevention, and the Office of the Mississippi Attorney General assisted in the operation.
If you suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.