The FBI held an international sex trafficking and prostitution sting last week and nearly 70 people were arrested in the metro Atlanta area as part of the operation, according to the FBI who made an announcement on Tuesday about the sting.
“The arrests were a part of a nationwide operation called Operation Cross Country X; it is the 10th FBI-led initiative of its type. According to the FBI, 82 minors were rescued and more than 239 alleged traffickers were arrested from Oct. 13 through Oct. 15,” an article by 11-Alive News reads.
Five people were arrested in Athens as a result of the sting.
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“In the Athens, Ga. operation, authorities said that the suspects, ranging in age from 22 to 66, traveled to the city with the intent to meet a child and pay for sex. Two of those arrested arrived with a gun; one had illegal drugs. One suspect had alcohol for the minor. At least one of those arrested in the Athens operation admitted to prior sexual contact with a minor,” the article reads. “Also as part of this operation, two suspects who were wanted in the death of a 14-year-old girl were arrested in Georgia. FBI Special Agent Stephen Emmett said that it appeared that the two were beginning to operate another sex ring in Georgia at the time of their arrest.”
Other arrests included five people in Alpharetta. Two people were arrested in Gwinnett County. One person was arrested in DeKalb. Four people were arrested in Dunwoody. Two people were arrested in Marietta and one person was arrested in Augusta.
In Athens, the Operation Cross Country arrests were of people “traveling in furtherance of having sex with a child.”
The following people were arrested:
- Jennings B. Summerour, 66, of Athens
- Harold C. Williams, 47, of Stephens
- Joshua P. Harkins, 29, of Habersham
- Randy E. Ash, 35, of Winder
- Mohammed Nihal Patel, 22, of Eatonton
“Operation Cross Country aims to shine a spotlight into the darkest corners of our society that seeks to prey on the most vulnerable of our population,” FBI Director James Comey told 11-Alive News. “As part of this effort, we are not only looking to root out those who engage in the trafficking of minors, but, through our Office of Victim Assistance, we offer a lifeline to minors to help them escape from a virtual prison no person ever deserves.”
Operations took place at multiple locations, including hotels, truck stop and street corners. The Metro Atlanta Child Exploitation Task Force (MATCH) reportedly executed two search warrants, rescued one juvenile and seized seven firearms in their operation.