LMPD makes multiple arrests in Derby weekend human trafficking sting

An undercover operation by Louisville Metro police resulted in at least four arrests over Derby weekend of men charged with promoting human trafficking.
Updated: May. 6, 2019 at 3:45 PM EDT
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Mohith Akula was arrested in a  Derby weekend human trafficking sting. (Source: LMDC)
Mohith Akula was arrested in a Derby weekend human trafficking sting. (Source: LMDC)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - An undercover operation by Louisville Metro police resulted in at least four arrests over Derby weekend of men charged with promoting human trafficking.

Arrest reports for the suspects - Mohith Akula, 27, of Santa Clara, California; Jackson Jones, 54, of Radcliff, Kentucky; Ronnie R. Johnson, 34, of Clarksville, Indiana, and Deontae Montez James, 27, of Shelbyville, - say each responded to an online ad and contacted an undercover officer who was posing as a minor.

Ronnie R. Johnson was arrested in a  Derby weekend human trafficking sting. (Source: LMDC)
Ronnie R. Johnson was arrested in a Derby weekend human trafficking sting. (Source: LMDC)

Each man arranged to engage in sex acts with a 15-year-old girl in exchange for money or drugs. They were arrested after arriving at the meet site, a motel in eastern Louisville Metro.

Deontae Montez James was arrested in a  Derby weekend human trafficking sting. (Source: LMDC)
Deontae Montez James was arrested in a Derby weekend human trafficking sting. (Source: LMDC)

“There were sex acts to be committed on a 15-year-old child,” LMPD Sgt. Tim Stokes said. “Dollar amounts and/or drugs were involved in making that deal.”

In addition to promoting human trafficking, all four suspects are charged with using electronic communications to procure a minor for sex. James is charged with possession of marijuana.

Stokes said 17 men responded to the ad expressing an interest in the girl, but only four showed up at the location.

“I think that some ways that the message is working,” Stokes said. “Human trafficking’s not going to be tolerated. We had a lot of news coverage in the days leading up to. There’s a lot of national coverage about this kind of phenomenon. And based on that, I think that’s a good thing we only had four of the 17 actually make contact with us.”

And the detective work did not stop there. Undercover officers also posed as customers and called 150 women who were advertising their services online. More than a dozen women came to the prearranged meeting location only to be surprised by the offer of support and services.

“They were really thankful they weren't going to jail that night,” human trafficking survivor Summer Dickerson said, “and that somebody understands I'm not there to judge them.”

Dickerson is founder and director of Women of the Well Ministry, providing services to trafficking victims to help them escape that life.

“We don’t want to keep arresting these women because that’s just not the answer,” Dickerson said. “Let’s give them some resources so they can exit. So hopefully we’ll see what happens.”

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