2 men arrested in Collier County human trafficking operation
NAPLES, Fla.- Two men have been arrested, and four victims rescued, following a six-month human trafficking investigation, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) announced on Monday.
Gregory Alexander Hines, 34, and Keith Bernard Lewis, 58, are accused of coercing victims to commit sexual acts, and were taken into custody on Friday.
CCSO began investigating the men after receiving a tip in July. On Saturday, authorities executed a search warrant in two rooms rented in Lewis’ name at the Days Inn & Suites located on Tollgate Boulevard in Naples. Authorities say they found drugs and evidence of commercial sex activity.
Detectives also found a victim in one of the rooms who appeared to be under the influence of a substance and was fading in and out of consciousness. She was transported to an area hospital for medical treatment, officials said.
“It’s extremely troubling, and most of the victims in cases like this have history of sexual abuse when they were young. There’s reasons they get sucked into that life,” said Det. Andy Henchesmoore with CCSO.
Detectives say Hines and Lewis were transient, moving from hotel to hotel. The men placed online ads for escort services, and gave the victims heroin and cocaine in exchange for performing sex acts on customers, authorities said. The men also used violence and withheld drugs if the victims did not comply with their demands, officials said.
“The drugs are provided to them and then withdrawn, to force the continued sex trafficking activity, and then they’re provided more drugs,” said Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk.
The victims rescued are being offered services to assist them with their recoveries. Detectives say there may be additional victims as the investigation continues.
Hines and Lewis are both being held in the Collier County Jail on $1.8 million bond on charges including human trafficking, racketeering, and living off the earnings of prostitution.