(WAFB) - In August of 2015, the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations - Special Victims Unit (SVU) investigated a human trafficking case and rescued a victim involved. The recovery of the victim resulted in two suspects being arrested. After further investigation, four other suspects were identified as traffickers.
After a nearly yearlong investigation, investigators were able to identify the four additional suspects. According to the victim, the suspects held her against her will and forced her to participate in sexual activity between June and August of 2015. These incidents occurred in both East Baton Rouge and Livingston Parishes.
The LSP Fugitive Apprehension Unit, with assistance from the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office, and the Louisiana Department of Probation and Parole, located and arrested the four suspects. Their names and charges are as follows:
- Tina Marie Wiles, 29, of Pride: Human trafficking
- Ricky L. Hale, 56, of Pride: Human trafficking
- John P. Cox Jr., 46, of Walker: Human trafficking, possession with intent to distribute schedule I controlled substance (heroine), and five counts of possession with intent to distribute schedule II controlled substances (methamphetamine, amphetamine, and oxycodone)
- Clifton P. Simmons, 43, of Baton Rouge: Human trafficking and aggravated assault with a firearm
"Dismantling human trafficking organizations and the apprehension of those responsible for trafficking victims remains a top priority for State Police. The Special Victims Unit will continue to work tirelessly with our partners to locate each and every offender of the heinous crime of human trafficking, while also ensuring that victims are provided the proper resources to help them recover," said Colonel Mike Edmonson, LSP Superintendent.
"East Baton Rouge Parish will continue to partner with our law enforcement counterparts to combat human trafficking, and identify and assist victims. By working together in operations such as these we will continue to combat sex crimes in our state," said EBR Sheriff Sid Gautreaux.
"Communication between departments is key. We are fortunate to live in an area where the sharing of information is the norm. That's what made this case, and that's what will make future cases. In Livingston Parish, we are proud to partner with other agencies in an effort to uncover crime and help those impacted," said Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard.
If you suspect any suspicious activity involving human trafficking, you are strongly urged to report it to the LSP Special Victims Unit. You can do so here.