Monday, January 11, 2016

2 Charged In Human Trafficking Investigation

Two men are in jail on bonds totaling nearly $4 million after a six-month investigation by the Collier County Sheriff's Office uncovered a human trafficking operation that led to the rescue of four victims over the weekend.

The investigation revealed that Gregory Alexander Hines, 34, and Keith Bernard Lewis, 58, were coercing the female victims to commit sexual acts and perform other activities consistent with slave labor, according to detectives.

Hines is being held in the Collier County jail on a $1.8 million bond on charges of human trafficking, racketeering violation and living off the earnings of prostitution.

Lewis is also being held on a $1.8 million bond on charges of racketeering, human trafficking, living off the earning of prostitution, possession of heroin, possession of cocaine and possession of marijuana.

Detectives say Hines and Lewis were transient, moving from hotel to hotel.

They are charged in connection with four Collier County victims.

Reports gave this account:

Hines and Lewis placed advertisements online under the category of "escort services."  They provided the victims with heroin and cocaine in exchange for performing sex acts on customers.

They used violence, threats of violence and withheld drugs if the victims did not comply with their demands. Lewis and Hines kept the money paid to them by customers, and provided the victims with basic necessities including food and clothing. The sex acts took place in various hotels in Collier County.

The investigation began in July after CCSO received information about a potential commercial sex operation involving Hines. The subsequent investigation determined that Hines and Lewis were profiting from the sexual exploitation of at least four victims.

Lewis and Hines were located at Wal-Mart, 9885 Collier Blvd., and taken into custody Friday.

Detectives executed a search warrant Saturday on two rooms rented in Lewis' name at Days Inn & Suites, 3837 Tollgate Blvd., Naples. Drugs, drug paraphernalia and evidence of commercial sex activity were recovered. Detectives also located a victim in one of the rooms they searched.  She 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.

The victims are being offered services to assist them with their recoveries.

An investigation continues. Detectives say there may be additional victims.

Gregory Hines
Keith Lewis