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Huron County is a county located at the northern tip of “the Thumb,” a sub region of Mid Michigan. The county’s population is about 31,000. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in county, and the problems and ancillary crimes they generate – including child sex trafficking, the robbery of sex buyers, and bestiality – result in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses.
Consumer-level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. For example, in September 2010, two men were arrested in an undercover prostitution sting in Huron County. One of the men was the former head football coach at Firelands High School; charges against both men were eventually dismissed, due to the key witness for the prosecution fleeing the area. The men were arrested at a Norwalk motel, after it was raided in the culmination of a prostitution investigation. The two men had allegedly met a woman through a Web site and arranged the motel meeting, where they were arrested after paying for prospected sexual activity, which was to include dog cages, dog bowls and dog collars. The woman had been staying at the home of a man in Greenwich Township; the man was also arrested and charged with managing a brothel, which is a felony in Michigan. For the case to be prosecuted, deputies needed the witness to testify, and with her fleeing, they had to drop the charges. It was reported that she may have fled to avoid testifying, and might have traveled to Virginia by bus. The soliciting prostitution charges for the two men were misdemeanors.
In August 2022, two Thumb-area men were arrested and faced felony sex charges involving minors, following a sting operation targeting adults who seek sex from underage children. According to the Huron County Sheriff’s Office, the operation took place August 17 at an undisclosed location in Caseville Township and involved tri-county law enforcement members from the Huron County Sheriff’s Office, Sanilac County Sheriff’s Office, Sanilac County Drug Task Force, Tuscola County Sheriff’s Office, and Bad Axe Police Department. The group also received advisory assistance from two Genesee Human Oppression Strike Team (GHOST) members from the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office’s. Arrested as a result of the operation was a 66-year-old Port Huron man and a 70-year-old Filion resident The operation involved the utilization of internet sex and prostitution sites by tri-county team members. The suspects allegedly shopped the sites for their victims, before reaching out to them, believing they were communicating and arranging a meeting with an underage sex participant. However, they were actually communicating with the team members of the unit. When the suspects arrived at the undisclosed location, young deputy sheriff decoys were engaged by the buyers, who both acknowledged wanting to have sex with an underage male. In addition to the two arrests, a 68-year-old Lexington man was released after being detained, with possible charges pending against him. Several items of evidence were also seized by officers during the operation, including cell phones, cash, vehicles and other items – many of which are subject to forfeiture. The investigation was ongoing, and occurred after another sting in the county carried out on July 12, which led to the arrests of three Huron County men.
Some local arrests have been the result of investigating allegations against real victims, rather than through proactive stings using undercover police decoys. For example, in August 2015, a man was arrested and was charged with soliciting prostitution during an incident response and investigation by the Huron County Sheriff’s Office. The Huron County Central Dispatch received a call from a man stating that he and his father were in pursuit of a female, who had just robbed his father of over $600 in cash. The incident was reported to have begun at a gas station in Bad Axe and eventually ended at Gott’s Corners in Lake Township. Huron County deputies were assisted by the Bad Axe City Police, the Elkton Village Police and the Caseville City Police. The two had met and decided to go to a parking lot at the Huron Medical Center and eventually took a short ride; while returning back to the Medical Center, the female grabbed a money clip that the Minden City man was in possession of, which contained over $600 in cash. Through further investigation, it was uncovered that a monetary agreement had been made for a sex act and the female suspect decided to take all of the man’s cash. The woman was arrested for felony robbery and misdemeanor prostitution charges; the man was arrested on misdemeanor charges of soliciting prostitution. The male suspect posted a $3,500/10 percent bond night and was released from the custody of the Huron County Sheriff’s Office. The identity of the arrested man was publicly released.
- Huron County Sheriff’s Office
- Bad Axe City Police Department
- Elkton Village Police Department
- Caseville City Police Department
Arrested Sex Buyer, Identity Disclosure:
- http://www.chroniclet.com/Sex-sting-charge-against-former-Firelands-coach-dropped (2010)
- http://www.norwalkreflector.com/Prostitution-case-involving-football-coach-is-dismissed (2010)
- https://www.michigansthumb.com/Two-arrested-in-local-prostitution-theft-case (2015)
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.ourmidland.com/Seekers-of-underage-sex-beware-Task-force (2022)
- http://www.tribunerecorderleader.com/human-trafficking-related-sting-operation-nets-three-arrests-in-huron-county (2022)
- https://huroncountyview.mihomepaper.com/human-trafficking-sting-operation-two-more-arrests-huron-county (2022)
- https://upnorthlive.com/sheriff-human-trafficking-sting-operation-in-huron-county-leads-to-two-arrests (2022)
- https://www.wnem.com/two-men-arrested-sex-trafficking-sting-operation (2022)
- https://news.yahoo.com/port-huron-filion-men-arrested (2022)
- https://www.audacy.com/wwjnewsradio/michigan-men-busted-shopping-for-sex-with-underage-boys (2022)
- https://www.michigansthumb.com/news/article/Man-caught-in-August-human-trafficking-sting (2022)
- https://www.ourmidland.com/two-arrested-bad-axe-sex-sting-take-plea-deals (2023)
- https://www.michigansthumb.com/news/article/filion-man-arrested-2022-human-trafficking-sting (2023)
Background on Local Sex Trafficking, Prostitution:
- https://www.michigansthumb.com/Internet-dating-service-bust-has-ties-to-the-Thumb (2002)
- http://www.sanduskyregister.com/prostitution ring busted in port huron county (2010)
- https://casetext.com/case/state-v-furqan (2013)
- https://wwmt.com/msp-35-men-arrested-in-connection-to-northern-michigan-prostitution-stings (2018)
- https://huroncountyview.mihomepaper.com/port-huron-man-pleads-no-contest-to-human-trafficking-charges (2022)
- https://huroncountyview.mihomepaper.com/man-receives-nearly-eight-years-prison-for-human-trafficking-related-offenses (2022)