8 arrested in Morristown human trafficking operation


By Leslie Earhart - Special to the Claiborne Progress



KNOXVILLE — A two-day operation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Morristown Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations has resulted in the arrest of eight men on prostitution charges.

The Morristown operation, called “Operation Someone Like Me,” took place last week and focused on identifying potential victims of human trafficking, while targeting those attempting to purchase illicit sex. Over the two-day period, undercover agents posted ads online. A total of eight men responded to those ads and attempted to purchase sex from a prostitute. Those arrested included men from two states ranging in age from 27 to 56.

Last year, the state legislature approved funding for four special agents, who work exclusively to investigate human trafficking cases and train law enforcement statewide on recognizing and combating this type of crime. The Morristown Police Department participated in that training earlier this year.

All eight men arrested during the two-day operation were charged with patronizing prostitution.

Those arrested were: Russell E. Goode, 52, Hazel Green, Alabama; Dwayne A. Ramsey, 56, Morristown; Benjamin D. Bailey, 27, Greeneville; Johnny T. James, 43, Morristown; Joshua Reed, 33, Newport; Tommy P. Sells II, 43, Blountville; Jeffery L. Teague, 52, Newport; David S. Presley, 43, Knoxville.

The operation ended early due to agents being reassigned to Sevier County to assist in the search and recovery of individuals missing as a result of the wildfires.

By Leslie Earhart

Special to the Claiborne Progress

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