COLUMBUS, Ohio — Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested a father and son Wednesday on human trafficking related charges for operating a commercial sex scheme.
A federal grand jury indicted Keith A. Arrick Sr., 46, of Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky, and his son, Keith A. Arrick Jr., 21, of Columbus, charging them with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, sex trafficking of a minor and sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion.
United States Attorney Carter M. Stewart, Southern District of Ohio, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and members of the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force, including HSI Special Agent in Charge Marlon V. Miller, Col. Paul Pride of the Ohio State Highway Patrol and Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs announced the charges.
The indictment alleges that between September 2013 and February 2014, the men used various hotels in the Columbus area to harbor women, including a minor female, to engage in commercial sex acts for the financial benefit of the defendants.
The investigation found that one victim was brought to Columbus from Kentucky. The indictment alleges that Arrick Sr. used physical violence and threats of violence if the victims indicated they wished to stop performing commercial sex acts.
The indictment charges both men with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, a crime punishable by up to life in prison. They are also charged with sex trafficking of a minor, which is punishable by at least 10 years and up to life in prison, and two counts of sex trafficking by force fraud or coercion, which is punishable by at least 15 years and up to life in prison.
Additionally, the indictment charges Arrick Sr. with two counts of violating the Mann Act, which prohibits interstate transportation for prostitution. It is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
"These arrests highlight HSI's commitment to identify and investigate human trafficking threats, as well as protect victims' rights and bring traffickers to justice," said Miller, who oversees HSI Detroit, which covers Michigan and Ohio. "We will continue to work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to dismantle human trafficking networks in our community."
"The investigation found that these defendants forced the victims to commit sex acts for money. They were held against their will and were fearful for their lives," said DeWine. "Members of this task force helped get these victims away from this situation, and now the defendants are facing the consequences of their actions."
"The cooperation between agencies in the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force shows the level of commitment we all have to making Ohio a safer place to live," said Pride. "Multi-agency task forces enhance the efforts to remove individuals like this from our communities."
Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force, which was formed in 2012 and is part of the Ohio Attorney General's Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, also includes authorities from the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), Powell Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Delaware County Prosecutor's Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Hill is representing the government in this case.
Authorities with the Columbus Police Department's gang and vice units, as well as the Grove City Police Department, assisted in the investigation.
An indictment merely contains allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.