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Tennessee sex trafficking bust results in 14 arrests

UPDATED

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced on Saturday the arrests of 14 men allegedly tied to a trafficking ring that solicited sex with minors.

The undercover investigation began on December 9 when investigators used “several decoy advertisements” on websites known for prostitution to find suspects soliciting sex with minors, TBI said.

The investigation was carried out by TBI, the Chattanooga Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Willowbend Farms, a nonprofit organization that provides support for human trafficking survivors.

The following suspects are now in custody in the Hamilton County Jail:

*Gregory Joiner (DOB 7/12/60), Chattanooga:  Trafficking for Commercial Sex Act

*Thomas Baggenstoss (DOB 3/6/77), Knoxville: Trafficking for Commercial Sex Act

*Rubelino Velasquez Salas (DOB 1/6/89), Chattanooga: Trafficking for Commercial Sex Act

*William Fugate (DOB 8/18/76), Riceville: Trafficking for Commercial Sex Act

*Jerome Stewart (DOB 10/17/95) Chattanooga: Trafficking for Commercial Sex Act, Possession of Marijuana

*Michael Scarlett (DOB 3/3/98), Houston, TX: Trafficking for Commercial Sex Act

*Khadim Gueye (DOB 9/26/87), Chattanooga, TN: Trafficking for Commercial Sex Act

*Sibley Evans (DOB 7/10/77), Lupton City: Trafficking for Commercial Sex Act

*Aurelio Hernandez (DOB 9/25/88), Roanoke, VA: Trafficking for Commercial Sex Act

*Thomas Cochran (DOB 4/27/78), Carrollton, GA: Trafficking for Commercial Sex Act, Possession of Meth, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

*Nicholas Underwood (DOB 9/9/99), Cohutta, GA: Trafficking for Commercial Sex Act, Possession of a Firearm While in Commission of a Felony

*Bersain Velasquez (DOB 5/24/79), Chattanooga: Trafficking for Commercial Sex Act

*Qu’darius Smith (DOB 12/10/97), Chattanooga: Trafficking for Commercial Sex Act, Possession of Meth, Possession of Marijuana

*Nelvin Cruz-Cruz (DOB 2/17/72), Lilburn, GA: Trafficking for Commercial Sex Act

To learn more about TBI’s efforts to combat human trafficking in Tennessee, click here.

Jennie Taer

Jennie Taer