Human trafficking suspect nabbed, victims rescued
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Aug 10, 2014 at 6:36 PM
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and authorities from Washington and Morgan counties announced the rescue of three women believed to be victims of human trafficking.
Investigators with the Washington and Morgan Major Crimes Task Force, which is part of the Ohio Attorney General's Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, arrested the suspect Thursday night after receiving information that he was allegedly running a prostitution service out of a hotel room in Marietta.
Investigators said the suspect, who identified himself as Xavier Freeman, was found in the presence of multiple adult females, including three women who were being held against their will.
"Human trafficking is a very serious problem throughout the state of Ohio, and it is often a crime that is hard to identify," DeWine said. "I applaud the person who contacted authorities after noticing something that didn't seem right. That tip allowed task force members to quickly look into the situation and get these women to safety."
Freeman, who claims to be from the state of New York, was arrested on charges of human trafficking, compelling prostitution and promoting prostitution. He was also arrested on a charge of possession of a schedule II controlled substance after authorities found him in possession of more than 180 Hydromorphone pills.
The Washington and Morgan Major Crimes Task Force is made up of authorities from the Belpre Police Department, Marietta Police Department, Morgan County Sheriff's Office, Washington County Sheriff's Office, Morgan County Prosecutor's Office and Washington County Prosecutor's Office.
Members of the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force, which is also part of the Ohio Attorney General's Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, is assisting with the investigation.
Authorities are still working to verify the suspect's identity and ask that anyone with information on the individual in the photograph contact the Washington County Sheriff's Office at 740-376-7070, ext. 0.