Two Columbus men have been charged with operating a sex trafficking ring in which they allegedly use drugs or physical violence to coerce women into prostitution.
Jamie L. Cason, 27, of the East Side, and Demetrius L. Alford, 34, of the Northeast Side, were indicted on Wednesday by a Franklin County grand jury, court records showed.
Cason faces 20 counts including human trafficking, forced prostitution, promotion of prostitution, kidnapping, drug possession and one weapons charge.
Alford has been charged with one count of promoting prostitution.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and the Columbus Police Division jointly announced the indictment Thursday afternoon.
“These two tick all the boxes for human traffickers: drugs, weapons and physical violence to force their victims to human trafficking,” Yost said in a prepared statement.
The arrests of the two men follow a 10-month investigation by the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force, which includes Columbus Police, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Homeland Security Investigations, Adult Parole Authority, Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, Powell Police, Salvation Army, Southeast Healthcare, Franklin County District Attorney’s Office and District Attorney’s Office Delaware County.
Formed under the auspices of the Attorney General’s Ohio Organized Crime Commission of Inquiry, the task force began investigating the alleged human trafficking operation in September 2020 following several advice and Central Ohio Crime Stoppers regarding Cason.
Cason was arrested on May 19 in a separate case that led to an indictment on May 28 on two counts of criminal assault and one charge of weapons, court records show.
An indictment hearing for Cason in the human trafficking case continued and had not been scheduled.
Alford is scheduled to appear on June 16 for an arraignment hearing.