ATLANTA — — Dozens of children are now safe after being rescued during a Georgia sex trafficking bust involving state and federal agents.
The U.S. Marshals Service Missing Child Unit, in conjunction with the agency’s Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Georgia state and local agencies, led a two-week operation in August in Atlanta and Macon, Georgia, to rescue endangered missing children.
"Operation Not Forgotten" resulted in the rescue of 26 children, the safe location of 13 children and the arrest of nine criminal associates.
Additionally, investigators cleared 26 arrest warrants and filed additional charges for alleged crimes related to sex trafficking, parental kidnapping, registered sex offender violations, drugs and weapons possession, and custodial interference.
Authorities say the 26 warrants cleared included 19 arrest warrants for a total of nine individuals arrested, some of whom had multiple warrants.
“The U.S. Marshals Service is fully committed to assisting federal, state, and local agencies with locating and recovering endangered missing children, in addition to their primary fugitive apprehension mission,” said Director of the Marshals Service Donald Washington. “The message to missing children and their families is that we will never stop looking for you.”
These missing children were considered to be some of the most at-risk and challenging recovery cases in the area, based on indications of high-risk factors such as victimization of child sex trafficking, child exploitation, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and medical or mental health conditions, according to authorities.
The operation spanned across 20 Georgia counties. Sources said children were found in Gwinnett, Fulton, Clayton, and Forsyth counties among other places. Nine suspects were arrested.
Other children were also located at the request of law enforcement to ensure their well-being.
USMS investigators were able to confirm each child’s location in person and assure their safety and welfare.
Gov. Brian Kemp issued a statement about the operation via Twitter Thursday night.
.@GAFirstLady and I applaud the work of law enforcement in “Operation Not Forgotten.” We’ll continue to work around the clock to bring an end to human trafficking and ensure the perpetrators of this evil industry know they have no place in our state. https://t.co/z0pSopVRww— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) August 27, 2020
This initiative was the culmination of several months of planning and coordination between the USMS, NCMEC, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia Office of the Attorney General, Georgia Department of Family and Children Services, Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
WSB-TV reports that 9 people were arrested for the following charges:
Moradeyo Amos Bandele – Arrested in Port St Lucy, FL – Warrant for Rape out of Conyers, GA
Trayon Moore – Dekalb County – Sex Trafficking and Probation Violation warrants
James Garcia - Arrested at a Motel in Clearwater, Fl - Warrants out of Whitfield County, GA - Aggravated Child Molestation, Aggravated Sodomy and Incest with a Minor
Faye Smith – Arrested at a motel in Clearwater, Fl – Warrant for Probation Violation
Sally Garcia – Arrested at a motel in Clearwater, Fl – Interference with Child Custody
Zachary Bailey Arrested in Columbus, GA – Human trafficking, Enticing of a Minor for Indecent Purposes, and Enticement of a Minor for Solicitation
Stanson Causey – Arrested in Jasper, GA – Registered Sex Offender arrested for Probation Violation
Kirk Waters – Arrested in Newton County GA – Felon in Possession of a Firearm
Trevonte Shareef – Arrested in Newton County – Interference with custody and obstruction