U.S. Marshals tracked down 39 missing children during a two-week operation in Georgia and Florida.
The U.S. Marshals Service Missing Child Unit, in conjunction with the agency’s Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, worked with state and local agencies in Georgia to locate endangered children. U.S. Marshals rescued 26 missing children and safely located 13 others during “Operation Not Forgotten.”
Investigators said the children ranged in age from 3 to 17. The U.S. Marshals Service identified 15 of the children as being victims of sex trafficking, according to WAGA-TV.
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“Additionally, investigators cleared 26 arrest warrants and filed additional charges for alleged crimes related to sex trafficking, parental kidnapping, registered sex offender violations, drugs and weapons possession, and custodial interference,” the official U.S. Marshals news release read. “The 26 warrants cleared included 19 arrest warrants for a total of nine individuals arrested, some of whom had multiple warrants.”
According to WTSP-TV, the nine suspects and charges include:
- Moradeyo Amos Bandele – Arrested in Port St Lucy, Fla. – Warrant for rape from Conyers, GA
- Trayon Moore – Arrested in Dekalb County, Ga. – Sex trafficking and probation violation warrants
- James Garcia – Arrested at a motel in Clearwater, Fla. – Warrants for aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy and incest with a minor out of Whitfield County, Ga.
- Faye Smith – Arrested at a motel in Clearwater, Fla. – Warrant for probation violation
- Sally Garcia – Arrested at a motel in Clearwater, Fla. – Interference with child custody
- Zachary Bailey – Arrested in Columbus, Ga. – Human trafficking, enticing of a minor for indecent purposes, and enticement of a minor for solicitation
- Stanson Causey – Arrested in Jasper, Ga. – Registered sex offender arrested for probation violation
- Kirk Waters – Arrested in Newton County, Ga. – Felon in possession of a firearm
- Trevonte Shareef – Arrested in Newton County, Ga. – Interference with custody and obstruction
“The U.S. Marshals Service is fully committed to assisting federal, state, and local agencies with locating and recovering endangered missing children, in addition to their primary fugitive apprehension mission,” Director of the Marshals Service Donald Washington said in a statement. “The message to missing children and their families is that we will never stop looking for you.
“I have children. I’m sure many of you do as well. These are not my kids and these are not your kids, but actually they are our kids when it’s all said and done,” Washington said. “Here in Atlanta, approximately 300 young girls are lured into sex trafficking every month.”
“We’re really good and what we do. You know, they’ve called us manhunters. Well, we’re not just man hunters anymore,” Darby Kirby, chief inspector of the U.S. Marshals Service Missing Child Unit, said. “We also help save and rescue children as well.
“When we track down fugitives, it’s a good feeling to know that we’re putting the bad guy behind bars,” Kirby added. “But that sense of accomplishment is nothing compared to finding a missing child.”
“To address [sex trafficking], it requires agents, foot soldiers and prosecutors that are willing to take the fight to the enemy,” Georgia Bureau of Investigation Assistant Director John Melvin said.
“I always go back to the fact that if we can save one child from a life of abuse or sex trafficking, we’ve done our job,” Georgia Attorney General Christopher Carr said.
“The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 enhanced the U.S. Marshals’ authority to assist federal, state, and local law enforcement with the recovery of missing, endangered or abducted children, regardless of whether a fugitive or sex offender was involved,” the U.S. Marshals news release stated. “The Marshals established a Missing Child Unit to oversee and manage the implementation of its enhanced authority under the act.”
According to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center, there were 421,394 entries for missing children in 2019. The United States Marshals Service helped recover 295 missing children in 2019, and more than 1,800 since parenting with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in 2005.
LIVE: U.S. Marshals & Georgia law enforceent reveal results of Operation Not Forgotten