Trafficking task force busts Ohio crime ring members with combined 124 felony charges

Unsplash/Michael Förtsch
Unsplash/Michael Förtsch

Six members of a violent crime ring have been indicted on a combined 124 felony charges, including murder and human trafficking. An Ohio task force conducted the investigation as part of an ongoing effort to end human trafficking crimes in the state.

On Saturday, the office of Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost issued a statement sharing the details of the task force investigation and the six indicted individuals.

“Busts like this free victims from the clutches of trafficking and rid our streets of dangerous criminals,” Yost said. “These successful investigations propel us closer to a future in which no human beings are bought or sold in Ohio.” 

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A Franklin County grand jury indicted the suspects on Dec. 27 on various felony charges, according to the release. The ages of the indicted individuals varied, and all but one was from Columbus. 

The Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force consists of 15 state agencies that work to identify victims and investigate human trafficking cases, in addition to ensuring that survivors receive any necessary treatment. The task force is formed under the Ohio Attorney General’s Organized Crime Investigations Commission.

James Antwan Dukes-Johnson, 28, of Columbus, was indicted on 39 felony charges. The charges included aggravated murder, murder, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, trafficking in persons, compelling prostitution, trafficking in a fentanyl-related compound and felonious assault.

Michael Anthony Davis, 21, of Columbus, was indicted on 38 felony charges, including aggravated murder, murder, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, trafficking in persons, compelling prostitution, trafficking in a fentanyl-related compound and felonious assault. 

Sarah Rose Dotson, 33, another suspect from Columbus, was indicted on 29 felony charges, which included trafficking in persons and compelling prostitution. Shahee Siler, 38, of Columbus, was also indicted on 10 felony charges, which included promoting prostitution, in addition to murder and felonious assault. 

Tyler Leianne Payne, 29, was indicted on four felony charges, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and money laundering. Alexias Monay Lashel Carr-Johnson, 28, the only suspect from Marysville, was also indicted on four felony charges that included engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and money laundering. 

A Franklin County indictment revealed that the alleged crime ring likely began around June 1, 2022, and lasted until about June 10, 2023, Fox19 reported.

The group engaged in money laundering, according to the indictment, and there were at least seven victims compelled into prostitution by four of the suspects throughout the course of a year. 

On May 31, Columbus police responded to a report of a drive-by shooting at a business in the 1900 block of Lockbourne Road, as Fox19 reported. The police discovered 39-year-old Adrian Smith, who was suffering from gunshot wounds, and Smith was pronounced dead in the parking lot six minutes later. 

Officers also responded to a 31-year-old unnamed man who had been patronizing the business from his vehicle, according to the police report, when he became caught in the crossfire of the shooting. The man tried to drive himself to the hospital before calling for help, with medical personnel later finding him at the 1500 block of Linwood Avenue with a bullet wound. 

Three members of the alleged crime ring — Dukes-Johnson, Davis and Siler — were indicted on murder and felonious assault charges related to the shooting incident, according to Fox19. 

The Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force continues its ongoing efforts to eradicate human trafficking. 

In October, Yost announced the arrest of 160 people as part of a weeklong effort named “Operation Buyer’s Remorse,” which arrested individuals for purchasing sex and identified human trafficking victims. 

The operation occurred from Sept. 25 to Sept. 30, taking place in multiple parts of Ohio, including in and around Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo, Akron, Youngstown, Marietta and Portsmouth. Yost’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission led the collaborative effort.

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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