West Memphis, Arkansas – A federal grand jury in Little Rock indicted four people in a human trafficking case.
Crittenden County Supervising Prosecuting Attorney Michael D. Snell made the announcement:
“The charges were the result of a cooperative effort
between the prosecutor’s office, the West Memphis Police Department, and federal agents.”
The investigation began on the night of 9 January 2021 when police found a 17-year-old woman with no identification walking on the West Memphis Walmart Supercenter parking lot and asking for help. She told authorities she had been sexually assaulted.
She reported that she was from Phoenix and was taken to West Memphis to be used as a prostitute. State prosecutors charged four people-two men with multiple rape counts; a third man with multiple rape counts, kidnapping, and trafficking; and a woman with kidnapping and trafficking.
Snell said those state charges would be dismissed once the federal charges were imposed.
Subpoenaed text messages revealed that the traffickers were planning to send another
woman to West Memphis: “We have another girl…”
“We may have saved someone’s life,” Snell said of the investigation and subsequent arrests.
Prosecuting Attorney Keith L. Chrestman praised Snell and the West Memphis Police Department:
“Without doubt, these arrests send a clear message: West Memphis and Crittenden County won’t tolerate these crimes. Stellar West Memphis police detectives collected the evidence. Snell’s proactive prosecuting attorney’s office organized it. And
I’m confident that the United States Attorney’s Office will bring this case to a just conclusion.”