ICE joins local agencies in Tarrant County human trafficking probe

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by JIM DOUGLAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaajdouglas

WFAA

Posted on February 6, 2013 at 5:32 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 6 at 8:40 PM

ARLINGTON – On Jan. 31, a man allegedly tried to sell a juvenile girl for a sex act at a south Arlington hotel. The customer turned out to be an undercover cop. Suspected pimp Myron Glen Johnson was snared in the multi-agency sting operation to attack human trafficking.

"We did in fact rescue a juvenile," said Dave Marwell, Special Agent in Charge for the Immigration, Customs and Enforcement office in Dallas.

ICE led the operation, which lasted several weeks, involving a North Texas human trafficking task force.

"We take this very seriously," said Marwell. "And we're all about trying to identify these victims and put these traffickers in jail."

Marwell declined to give specifics on the operation or arrest results. He says officers in Fort Worth and Arlington used Internet sites, including Backpage.com, to set up appointments at area hotels.

In some cases decoy officers posed as prostitutes. The hotels themselves are not part of the investigation. Records show more than two dozen recent prostitution related arrests in the two cities.

Marwell says the juvenile rescued in Arlington was a runaway.

"In particular, the Dallas/Fort Worth area is a known runaway destination," said Marwell.  "So a lot of these predators if you will are waiting for these very innocent, vulnerable children to come in, and they are exploiting them through the sex trade."

Federal officials say this was a far reaching investigation designed not just to make arrests, but to generate leads on victims of human trafficking, because they rarely come forward on their own. ICE is expected to release results later this month.  

The ICE hotline number to report human trafficking is 1.866.347.2423.

Email jdouglas@wfaa.com

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