Detectives execute warrants in NY for local human trafficking case
A human trafficking investigation that started in Waco has led McLennan County Sheriff's detectives to New York.
Detectives Joseph Scaramucci and Jeff Aguirre returned from Nassau County, N.Y. Thursday night.
"Joe got a lead in New York, instead of just letting it go, he and another one of our detectives got on a plane," said Sheriff Parnell McNamara. "We sent them to New York and we ran search warrants, and it's going to be a tremendous case."
The duo flew up Monday to execute search warrants related to a sex trafficking case the agency opened two months ago.
"It was very fruitful," said Scaramucci of the evidence collected. "I think we definitely have evidence that we can move forward on this case to show this is trafficking occurring throughout the United States."
The case involves a victim from China they found online during an undercover operation.
"She'd been moved through multiple states and ultimately ended up in Waco, and we made contact with her," said Scaramucci.
He says the woman was being trafficked to perform sex acts in hotels across at least seven states, which, in some instances, involved transport through ride-sharing services.
"There were like 86 different cities involved under this operator in multiple states--and that is huge," said McNamara.
He says the case may go federal.
"It was a big operation," said McNamara. "This is just the tip of the iceberg here."
Detectives were able to use electronic technology to pinpoint the "boss" of the operation, and they hope to help bring this person to justice once they finish going through the evidence and meet with appropriate prosecutors to seek charges.
"You have people that are responsible for each different part of the organization, and ultimately we want to get to the boss," said Scaramucci. "Thee main goal is to work through those people and get higher and higher and higher, which ultimately I think we've done."
He says trying to hide will do traffickers who come to Waco no good.
"As long as you're conducting your business, and that business is modern day slaver and you do it in our county, we are going to come find you," said Scaramucci.
McNamara says they've arrested more than 700 people on trafficking and related sex crimes since ramping up efforts in 2014.
"We have tried to make McLennan County an unsafe place for the criminal and a safer place for our citizens," said McNamara.