State, local and FBI law enforcement officers across Maryland and the United States announced a sweeping, coordinated child prostitution bust that recovered 105 children, the FBI announced Monday.
While no children were reported found in Maryland, the FBI said three suspected "pimps" were arrested in the state. Baltimore FBI spokesman Rich Wolf said the three operated in Prince George's County.
Arrested were Darren Everlee Hopkins, 28, of Capitol Heights, who is facing four counts of human trafficking, four counts of prostitution and a drug charge, according to court records. Tyree Abdul White, 37, of Philadelphia, was also arrested and charged with those offenses.
Cecil Thadeus Murry IV, 25, of Landover, was charged with prostitution, court records show.
No attorneys were listed in court records for the men. Wolf said the suspects will be prosecuted in state courts.
The Maryland Child Exploitation Task Force, made of state police and representatives of local police agencies, were part of the national Operation Cross Country VII, a 72-hour operation that targeted commercial child sex trafficking across the country.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children also assisted in the 76-city sweep, which arrested 150 pimps on federal and state charges.
"Child prostitution remains a persistent threat to children across America," Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division, said in a statement. "This operation serves as a reminder that these abhorrent crimes can happen anywhere, and the FBI remains committed to stopping this cycle of victimization and holding the criminals who profit from this exploitation accountable."
Since the FBI launched the Innocence Lost National Initiative in 2003, the agency and task force members have recovered more than 2,700 children and secured 1,350 convictions, the FBI said.
U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, a Baltimore native and Maryland Democrat who chairs the senate committee that funds the FBI, lauded the operation.
"I commend all the agents who broke up these despicable child prostitution rings," Mikulski said in a statement. "This major operation is an example of the good that can be accomplished when the federal government works with state and locals to keep our children safe."
The child prostitution rings targeted were operating in truck stops, casinos, street corners and websites that advertise dating or escort services, the FBI said.
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