Oklahoma City police part of joint operation leading to more than 130 arrests
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Law enforcement arrested more than 130 people as part of an 11-day operation in Oklahoma City.
The operation was organized by Operations North (Hefner and Springlake Crime Units), Operations South (Santa Fe and Southwest Crime Units), Special Operations, the United States Marshals Service, and the ATF.
The purpose of Operation Maverick was to have police work together to make the city safer and impact the violent crime rate by arresting the most violent gang members and criminal offenders victimizing the community. Operation Maverick focused on fugitive investigations related to violent crime and proactive efforts in areas identified by the crime units.
Warrant arrests included charges such as Murder, Rape, Kidnapping, Armed Robbery, Shooting with Intent to Kill, Shooting into an Occupied Dwelling, Assault and Battery with a Deadly Weapon, Domestic Strangulation, Domestic Assault and Battery with a Deadly Weapon, Drive-By Shooting, Forcible Sodomy, Lewd Acts with a Child, Child Neglect, Burglary 1, Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, Aggravated DUI, and Aggravated Attempted Eluding.
Proactive efforts led to arrests for charges that include Possession of a Firearm After a Former Conviction of a Felony, Trafficking Cocaine, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Possession of CDS with Intent, Possession of a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony, and Possession of a Firearm while Intoxicated. Members of several gangs were arrested as part of this operation as well.
During Operation Maverick, there were 134 arrests total, including 102 felony arrests and 32 misdemeanor arrests.
AG Paxton Investigates TikTok for Potential Facilitation of Human Trafficking & Child Privacy Violations
AUSTIN, TX – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has issued two Civil Investigative Demands (CIDs) to TikTok Inc. This investigation focuses on TikTok’s potential facilitation of human trafficking and child privacy violations, as well as other potential unlawful conduct.
“Chinese-owned company TikTok may be complicit in child exploitation, sex trafficking, human trafficking, drug smuggling and other unimaginable horrors,” Attorney General Paxton said. “I will get to the bottom of these concerns and make sure Big Tech doesn’t interfere with the safety and security of Texans.”
Paxton’s Fugitive Apprehension Unit Arrests 18 Violent Parole Violators in Operation
AUSTIN, TX – Last week, Office of the Attorney General Arlington and Austin Fugitive Unit Personnel conducted an operation that focused on apprehending and arresting parole violators with violent felony convictions, violent criminal history and gang affiliations. The teams focused on parole violators in the Amarillo area, which consisted of both Potter and Randall counties. During the week, 18 suspects were arrested.
The suspects were currently on parole for offenses such as Murder, Assault, Robbery, Possession of Firearm by a Felon, Assault Family Violence, Drugs and various other felonies, including violent criminal histories. The Amarillo Police Department assisted with providing intel leading to some of the arrests. The following suspects were arrested during the operation:
Ruben James Solis, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Burglary of Habitation Felony 2nd Degree in 2018 violated the conditions of his parole by being arrested for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by Felon.
Jeremy Juan Mendoza, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Injury to Child/Elderly/Disabled with Intent Bodily Injury Felony 3rd Degree in 2017.
Tiundrae Delmar Nelson, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Possession of a Controlled Substance PG 1 4-200 Grams in 2006 with a history of aggravated assault.
Michael Wayne Cooper, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Possession of a Controlled Substance PG 1 1-4 Grams in 2018 with a history of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Chad Edwin Hooser, Amarillo, Parole Violations for Possession of a Controlled Substance PG 1 1-4 Grams and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon in 2017.
Antonio Ford Arreola, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Possession of a Controlled Substance PG 1 4-200 Grams and Manufacture/Delivery of a Controlled Substance PG 1 4-200 Grams in 2013 with a criminal history of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon.
Alan Dale Howard, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Burglary of Habitation in 1994 with a history of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon.
Patricio Garza Guzman, Amarillo, Parole Violation for two counts of Burglary of Habitation in 2009 with a history of Possession of Firearms by a Felon.
Kevin Don Groom, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Murder in 1993.
Andrew Walter Pettis Jr, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Robbery Felony 2nd Degree in 2015.
Justin Guzman, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Indecency with a Child Sexual Contact and Attempted Indecency with a Child in 2015.
Mark Edward Fox, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Theft of a Firearm and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon in 2017.
John Jennings, Amarillo, Parole Violation for two counts of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon in 2002.
Richard Earl Ewing, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon in 2014.
Joseph Johnny Sustaita, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Unlawful Possession of Firearm by a Felon in 2016.
David Ray Nivens, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Assault Breath Impediment Family/Household Member with Two Prior Convictions in 2018.
Ricardo Fernandez, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Burglary of a Habitation in 2016 with a criminal history of Robbery.
Angela Lynn Ramirez, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Injury to Child/Elderly/Disabled in 2016.
Steven Lee Thompson, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Aggravated Robbery in 2012.
Hundreds arrested, 5 missing children found
during U.S. Marshals’ operation targeting
metro gang activities
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – An operation led by the U.S. Marshals Service targeting gang activities in the Oklahoma City metro resulted in 262 arrests, the discovery of five missing and endangered children and the seizure of firearms and narcotics.
According to the U.S. Marshals, the 60-day “Operation Triple Beam,” which concluded on Sept. 6, targeted violent fugitives and criminal offenders who committed high-profile crimes, such as homicide, felony assault and sexual assault, illegal possession of firearms, illegal drug distribution, robbery and arson.
Officials said among the people arrested, 141 were confirmed gang members.
The U.S. Marshals Service Metro Fugitive Task Force also safely located a total of five missing children during the operation, officials said.
Law enforcement officers seized 72 firearms, more than nine kilograms of narcotics and nearly $17,000 in currency, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.
The operation was conducted in partnership with multiple local law enforcement agencies, including Oklahoma City police, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, Shawnee and Yukon police, Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office, Oklahoma Department of Corrections and more.
According to authorities, a suspect in a homicide that occurred in California was taken into custody in the Oklahoma City area. Four detectives with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office traveled to Oklahoma City to continue their homicide investigation. They interviewed the suspect and witnesses, and served search warrants in Oklahoma City.
One of the detectives became ill shortly after he returned home. He had contracted COVID-19 and died after spending a few weeks in the hospital, Johnny L. Kuhlman, U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Oklahoma, said during the news conference. The detective was laid to rest Wednesday.
North Texas hotels ignore sex trafficking,
exploitation of children, lawsuit says
Three national hotel chains are accused of being complicit in sex trafficking at hotels across the country including various ones in North Texas, according to a federal lawsuit filed in Dallas this week.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a woman identified as F.M. who says she was sexually exploited at North Texas hotels beginning when she was 4 years old. The woman is now in her 20s and lives in Tarrant County.
The lawsuit, filed by Houston-based Lanier Law Firm on Monday, includes Best Western, Hyatt and Red Lion hotels, and says that the companies ignored criminal activity occurring on their property and failed to protect victims of sex trafficking from exploitation.
“The hotel industry plays a crucial role in the sex trade,” said Lanier Law Firm founder Mark Lanier in a statement released Wednesday. “For too long, the industry has profited by looking the other way when sex trafficking has been happening right in front of them. We’re filing this lawsuit to get some justice for victims and to let these businesses know that their lack of action is unacceptable.”
In a statement Wednesday, BWH Hotel Group said, “Best Western International, Inc. condemns human trafficking. It is a despicable crime and the criminals who intentionally inflict this suffering on their victims should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Best Western supports the industry’s efforts to raise awareness and fight against this inhumane and horrific crime.
“While Best Western branded hotels are independently owned and operated, we require that each member hotel complies with all laws and treats all hotel guests consistent with our core values of integrity, honesty, and respect for others’ dignity,” the statement continued. “We provide information and training resources to member hotels on this serious issue such that hotels can educate their staff about how to recognize and report instances of trafficking.”
Officials at Red Lion and Hyatt could not be reached Wednesday for comment.
The suit specifically names Best Western Plus DFW Airport Suites, Hyatt House Dallas/Frisco, Best Western Irving Inn & Suites at DFW Airport, and the America’s Best Value Inn Irving/Dallas.
Sex trafficking generates an estimated $99 billion each year, making it the second-largest illicit crime industry behind the sale of illegal drugs, according to the lawsuit. More than 60 percent of sex trafficking offenses occur in hotels, while eight out of 10 arrests for human trafficking occur in or around hotels, the lawsuit says.
VICTIM SAYS SHE WAS DRUGGED AND ASSAULTED FOR YEARS
In the lawsuit, F.M. gave this account of being exploited:
Her father, to sustain his drug addiction, sold her to traffickers in Irving for sex when she was 4.
She was given unidentified pills by her trafficker on average to five to 10 times each day, according to the lawsuit. Her traffickers would tie her and other children up and place them blindfolded in the back of a van.
When they arrived at a hotel, a hotel bellmen would be there to meet them and send them to assigned hotel rooms where buyers would be waiting for them, the lawsuit stated.
F.M. was bound, blindfolded and sent to rooms where “johns” were awaiting her and other children. She was then tied to a bed and sexually assaulted, according to the lawsuit.
From age 4 to 18, F.M. was trafficked to buyers for sex and abuse at the Best Western Plus DFW Airport Suites, the Best Western Irving Inn & Suites at DFW Airport in Irving and the Hyatt House Dallas/Frisco in Frisco, she said in the suit.
By the age of 20, F.M. was in the possession of her third trafficker and being trafficked at America’s Best Value Inn Irving/Dallas in Irving, the suit says.
She was advertised on Craigslist.com
At the age of 20, F.M. was hospitalized and could not work. Her trafficker punished her 2-year-old son by raping the child while F.M. watched, according to the lawsuit.
Her trafficker controlled her by making her dependent on methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana.
A number of nationwide campaigns recognized trafficking in the hotel industry and several hotel companies took initiative to combat the problem, but the lawsuit says Best Western, Hyatt and Red Lion have repeatedly failed to thwart sexual exploitation at their hotels.
The lawsuit listed some indicators of sex trafficking at a hotel. They include:
An excess of condoms in rooms.
Individuals carrying large amounts of cash.
Renting two rooms next door to each other.
Declining room service for several hours.
Men traveling with multiple women who appear unrelated.
Guests checking in with little or no luggage.
Women known to be staying in rooms without leaving.
Hotel guests who prevent another individual from speaking for themselves.
The lawsuit listed more than 20 incidents of arrests and rescues of people and children in sex trafficking or exploitation cases at hotels operated by Red Lion, Hyatt and Best Western.