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32 people, including minister, arrested for human trafficking in TN

Published: May. 20, 2016 at 6:12 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 6, 2017 at 11:50 AM CDT
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KNOXVILLE, TN (WAFF) - Thirty-two people, including a children's minister, were arrested on prostitution and human trafficking charges after a three-day investigation by special agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Two of the men, including the children's minister, responded to ads for what they thought were girls under the age of 18.

During the three-day operation, agents posted ads on Backpage.com. During that time, more than 300 people responded to the ads. On one ad, agents posed as a juvenile girl. That ad received more than two dozen contacts.

"Finding these people who are trying to buy Tennessee children is a priority for us," said TBI Director Mark Gwyn. "We want anyone responding to these ads to think there may be a TBI Agent on the other end of it. We will do whatever we can to make a difference in reducing the human trafficking that takes place in Tennessee."

The following people were arrested during the investigation:

  • Jason Kennedy - Trafficking
  • Michael Clayton, 43, Clinton, TN – Patronizing Prostitution
  • Larry Quarles, 52, New Market, TN - Patronizing Prostitution
  • Gerrado Merchant, 36, Jacksboro, TN - Patronizing Prostitution
  • James Perkins, 50, Sweetwater, TN- Patronizing Prostitution
  • Greg Hensley, 44, Mascot, TN - Patronizing Prostitution
  • Jaton Johnson, 38, Knoxville, TN  - Patronizing Prostitution, Simple Possession
  • Samuel Rivers, 27, East Point, GA – Patronizing Prostitution, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, Simple Possession
  • Prashante Bhakta, 35, Columbus, NC - Patronizing Prostitution
  • James Warren, 32, Newport, TN - Patronizing Prostitution
  • Gary Bauer, 56, Heiskell, TN - Patronizing Prostitution
  • Nicholas Rains, 24, Maryville, TN - Patronizing Prostitution
  • Ignacio Jimenez, 38, Maryville, TN - Patronizing Prostitution
  • Patrick Douthat, 27, Knoxville, TN - Patronizing Prostitution
  • Brandon Slatton, 22, Knoxville, TN - Patronizing Prostitution
  • Jeffrey Sweeney, 63, Knoxville, TN - Patronizing Prostitution
  • Robert Aiken, 48, Jacksboro, TN - Patronizing Prostitution
  • Atari McNabb, 28, Knoxville, TN - Patronizing Prostitution
  • Zubin Parakh, 32, Oak Ridge, TN - Patronizing Prostitution, (warrant for) Trafficking
  • Jonathan McCarthy, 30, Augusta,  GA - Patronizing Prostitution
  • Jose Juarez, 38, Knoxville, TN – Patronizing Prostitution
  • Robert Lambert, 40, Knoxville, TN - Patronizing Prostitution
  • Cornelius Turner, 25, Memphis, TN – Promoting Prostitution
  • Jerry Rhode, 63, Kodak, TN – Patronizing Prostitution
  • Zachary Desha, 24, Knoxville, TN – Promoting Prostitution
  • Jason Kennedy, 46, Knoxville, TN – Patronizing Prostitution, Trafficking
  • Kelsey Martin, 23, Boaz, KY – Prostitution
  • Alexis Phelps, 21, Knoxville, TN – Prostitution
  • Shirley Henry, 23, Clinton, TN – Prostitution
  • Stephanie Thomas, 26, Knoxville, TN – Prostitution
  • Crystal Myers, 37, Knoxville, TN - Prostitution

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