An ongoing sting in the Kingwood area has resulted in dozens of arrests related to prostitution, drugs, weapons and other charges. At a press conference held Tuesday at the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Rand Henderson lauded the efforts of his deputies, who conducted “Operation Labour” from Aug. 28 through Sept. 6.
“Operation Labour” targeted prostitution while helping potential victims of human trafficking in the Kingwood area. Detectives and agents from multiple agencies worked in an undercover capacity posing as “johns” and “prostitutes.”
Thirty-seven men and 32 women were arrested on prostitution charges. One man was charged with Promotion of Prostitution and seven other miscellaneous arrests were for narcotics and weapons charges.
During the multi-agency investigation, victims who may have been forced into providing illegal services through force, fraud or coercion were also sought out. At least six victims were identified who requested victim services, one of which was a 16-year-old female. A two-year-old child was also found in a vehicle when a female was arrested. The child has since been placed with family members.
“What we see a lot of times in these operations is that there are offenses that come along with it, such as drugs and guns,” said Sheriff Henderson. “The main mission of this is always going to be to rescue, but we also identify other criminal elements in which these offenses are prosecuted.”
MCSO Lt. Michael Landrum said he had the pleasure of working this operation on the management side.
“It was two weeks of long hours and hard work by, as previously mentioned, a lot of agencies. I want to recognize those agencies, both local, state and federal officers, and the non-government organizations for their hard work and professional approach to investigating human trafficking,” Landrum said. “The men and women who completed this operation showed their dedication and personal desire to help women and educate the men on how their actions are affecting our community, and I want to honor those men and women with the law enforcement agencies for their display of professionalism.”
Houston Police Department was among the agencies assisting in the sting. Representing HPD at the press conference was Sgt. John Wall, who is with HPD’s Human Trafficking Unit and also oversees the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance of the Southern District of Texas.
“It’s a task force that’s composed of 22 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, state and federal prosecutors and victim service organizations,” said Wall. “The main goal is to identify victims of human trafficking, conduct proactive victim-centered investigations and provide the victims that we recover with a comprehensive array of services.”
Wall said that while Operation Labour focused on the identification and recovery of victims and the arrests of those responsible, it also targeted the buyers of illicit sex with the purposes of deterring those individuals.
“Because we know that many of those that are advertised on illicit websites are victims. Through conducting numerous task force operations and investigations, we have discovered that human trafficking affects women, children and sometimes men, who are both from the United States and abroad,” Wall said. “Time and time again we see the traffickers exploit the vulnerabilities that the individuals face, by offering promises of a better life, the feeling of belonging, a better income or a chance for new opportunities.”
Wall said all too often the victims become prey for the ones who exploit.
Through these operations, the agencies have found not only local victims, but others from across the state of Texas. The victims come from affluent cities and small towns, and they are from all ages, genders and ethnic backgrounds.
“The criminals perpetrating these crimes also come from all walks of life, and not only do they exploit human beings, many times, as Sheriff Henderson mentioned, they’re involved in drugs and weapons trafficking,” said Wall. “The Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance is very proud of our committed partnership with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, and we look forward to participating in future operations.”
Persons charged with prostitution are:
- Anzaldua, Ismael
- Arias, Peter
- Asafeh, Sameeh
- Bolton, Grady
- Collins, Brandon
- Cook, Aaron
- Devine, Andre
- Fegley, Noah
- Francisco, Morales
- Garza, Armando
- Glasper, Victor
- Gonzalez, Ruben
- Hart, Dandre
- Hernandez, Ismael
- Hernandez, Julio
- Hernandez, Maximiliano
- Hernandez, Azahel
- Hodges, Daniel
- Landry, Joshua
- Manson, Scott
- Martinez, Jose
- Martinez, Jesse
- McDaniel, William
- Mekuria, Eskinder
- Melecio, Jose
- Mistry, Jay
- Oneal, Baron
- Remirez, Yesid
- Renko, Christopher
- Roberts, Jaromey
- Scott, Anthony
- Snider, Richard
- Sorrels, Denton
- Stephens, Adonis
- Tejada, Elmer
- Valdez, Anthony
- Wang, Jen-Lin
Charged with Promotion of Prostitution:
- Harris, Jovanti
- Oneal, Baron – Possession of a Controlled Substance
- Cook, Aaron – Possession of a Firearm by Convicted Felon
- Jones, Quinshaughn – Evading Arrest With Motor Vehicle and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
- Allison, Shawn – Possession of a Controlled Substance and two out-of-county warrants
- Parks, Tereca – Possession of a Controlled Substance
- Caliste, Michael – Possession of Marijuana
- Maryland, Rasean – Possession of Marijuana
- Paul, Troy – Possession of a Controlled Substance
- Ali, Aena – Possession of Marijuana
- Murphy, Zackery – Possession of Marijuana