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July 16, 2021

Lee County: 7 victims of human trafficking freed, 8 suspects arrested

Therese Apel

Eight people are behind bars and seven victims of human trafficking have been rescued, officials said today.

A release from the Department of Public Safety says an undercover operation spearheded by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation last Friday led to the arrests and the victims’ identification and rescue.

Governor Tate Reeves issued a warning to those who engage in the human trafficking inside Mississippi.

“My administration will do whatever it takes to bring human traffickers to justice, and this operation sends a message that we won’t stand idly by while they exploit those who are most vulnerable,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “Human traffickers should think twice before stepping foot into Mississippi.”

Department of Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell said DPS will continue to work with other agencies to stop traffickers.

“Our agency is committed to referring human trafficking victims to dedicated services and arresting the criminals behind their exploitation,” he said.

Attorney General Lynn Fitch said she’s proud of Mississippi law enforcement who work together to protect the

“Human trafficking has no place in Mississippi. And, traffickers need to know that our women and children are off limits,” said Fitch. “Our work doesn’t end when the operation ends. We must support and empower victims to move forward without shame or blame. Our efforts will always be victim-first as we connect recovered individuals with the tools and resources they need to build a new life with hope and dignity.”

The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol, Tupelo Police Department, National Guard Counterdrug Task Force, Booneville Police Department, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Restore Corps Memphis, Center for Violence Prevention, and the Office of the Mississippi Attorney General assisted in the operation, which resulted in the arrests of the following individuals:

  • Dewayne K. Davis, 51, was charged with Child Exploitation.
  • Noe Andres Muz, 34, was charged with Child Exploitation.
  • Keelan Jerome Smithy, 30, was charged with Child Exploitation.
  • Willis Dewayne Traylor, 40, was charged with 2 counts of possession of methamphetamines and cocaine.
  • Bobby Wade Green, 54, was charged with Promoting Prostitution.
  • Keenan Hardy, 32, had three felony warrants for Domestic Violence out of Illinois and was arrested for extradition.
  • Two more were charged with Promoting Prostitution, and their names will be released upon arrest.

If you suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

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