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Eight men face charges of sex trafficking involving minors

Another charged with patronizing prostitution










Nine men, ages ranging from 26 to 55, are facing charges ranging from trafficking for a commercial sex act within 100 feet of a park, school zone, etc. (a felony charge), to patronizing prostitution (a Class A misdemeanor).

One of the nine is also accused of possession of a controlled substance, while another faces a sexual-battery charge.

They were arrested following a two-day undercover investigation of men accused of seeking illegal sex from minors.

A press release from Dave Clark, district attorney general of the Seventh Judicial District, said the investigation happened on Wednesday and Thursday, March 24-25, and that the Oak Ridge Police Department led the operation with “substantial technical and manpower assistance” from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Human Trafficking Unit, the Seventh Judicial District Crime Task Force, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, and the District Attorney General’s Office.

In the release, Clark said the operation was conceived by ORPD in response to “several instances in the recent past of men from other areas soliciting sex from local minors online and coming to Oak Ridge to meet the girls.”

The investigation involved placing decoy advertisements online with a website known to be associated with, “commercial sex acts with minors.” Arrests were made after the men came to an Oak Ridge location “to pay to have sex with the minors.”

Those arrested are:

Juan N. Gomez-Luria, 42, Knoxville, Trafficking for a Commercial Sex Act;

Darron C. Hickman, 53, Knoxville, Trafficking for a Commercial Sex Act, Possession of a Controlled Substance;

Alex E. Hickey, 55, Jefferson City, Trafficking for a Commercial Sex Act (two counts);

Jose W. Salguera-Alonzo, 35, Maryville, Trafficking for a Commercial Sex Act (two counts);

Michael J. Houck, 54, Concord, Patronizing Prostitution (two counts);

Joshua S. Wilson, 32, Oak Ridge, Trafficking for a Commercial Sex Act (two counts);

Michael J. Slover, 54, Oak Ridge, Trafficking for a Commercial Sex Act (two counts), Sexual Battery;

Joshua D. Winningham, 26, Knoxville, Trafficking for a Commercial Sex Act (two counts), Soliciting Sexual Exploitation of a Minor (two counts);

Jeremy R. Williams; 35, Tellico Plains, Trafficking for a Commercial Sex Act (two counts).

At least five of those accused met with an undercover agent posing as a juvenile.

The accused are scheduled to appear April 6 in General Sessions Court of Anderson County, Division II. First appearances for arraignment and bond matters are scheduled on of before April 6, the release said.

In his release, Clark said, “These operations require a tremendous amount of manpower to conduct the technical and criminal intelligence portion as well as the many officers involved in surveillance, take down, transportation, and the like. This could not have been done without the help of the TBI.”

Clark further observed, “I am very proud of the initiative and leadership Oak Ridge Police showed in diagnosing and proactively addressing this recent problem, and I am equally proud of the teamwork and ‘can do’ attitude of the TBI, CTF, and Anderson County’s Sheriff’s Office.

“There are three important take-aways for the public:

“Your law enforcement community is working hard and smart to protect our children.

“The defendants have mostly come from other places looking for our Anderson County children.

“I have checked with Sheriff (Russell) Barker, who assures me that he can make room for defendants like these at our jail; so if someone is interested in having sex with our children in Anderson County, we have plenty of room at the jail where we will be waiting for them.”

In further response to this problem, Clark will once again offer training for parents on managing the online risk to children that can occur through computers, smartphones, and even online gaming systems.

“We need to help parents, and even teens, be aware of the risk that is posed by certain online behaviors. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for kids to [fail to] appreciate the dangers posed by anonymous people online who they may think of as their online ‘friend’ of a similar age.

“The sad modern reality is that there can be predators lurking out there looking for an opportunity to meet a child where they think they can find a child. Defeating this problem will require teamwork in both enforcement and prevention,” Clark said via the release.

A release issued by TBI said: “The focus of the operation was to identify individuals seeking to engage in commercial sex acts with minors.”

The TBI release also said that at least two women were identified as “potential victims” of trafficking. The TBI release offered counseling services and temporary housing through Grow Free Tennessee, a program of the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking.