Federal agents arrested a fugitive on their most wanted list “for his alleged role in operating a large-scale human trafficking and drug operation out of a Detroit motel.” The Detroit Free Press reports that according to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson, Darrick Bell, 50, was arrested at an EconoLodge in Michigan.
Bell–also known as Tone or Ghost– was nabbed at the motel on Wednesday with about $12,000 in cash and cocaine, the Detroit Free Press reported. A woman was also arrested.
Bell, a U.S. citizen, escaped arrest on Jan. 12, 2017 when more than 200 law enforcement personnel descended on the Victoria Inn to break up the operation. Women who lived at the motel were allegedly drugged and forced through coercion, threats and isolation to perform commercial sex acts for the financial benefit of Bell and his associates, ICE said.
Bell and five other defendants were charged in a 9-count indictment with trafficking in persons, forced labor, drug trafficking, money laundering, extortion collection and conspiracy, among other charges, ICE said.
The government hunted for Bell for three years. He escaped along with five other people in 2017 right before the hotel where he was operating got raided by the feds. Some of the charges this dirtbag will face include human trafficking, money laundering, extortion collection, and conspiracy.
According to court records, Bell came to the attention of HSI special agents in September 2016, when one of his alleged victims escaped and special agents later confirmed he was operating out of the Victory Inn, which was ordered shuttered by a Wayne County judge in March, citing it as a nuisance. In 2016, the Detroit Police logged more than 115 calls to the location for crimes such as shootings, aggravated assaults and two homicides allegedly linked to former motel guests.
The indictment alleges that Bell, along with his co-conspirators, formed and operated a massive human trafficking and narcotics distribution operation out of multiple rooms at the now-shuttered motel. The women were allegedly exploited and abused by forcing them – through threats, coercion and isolation – to work as commercial sex workers for the financial benefit of Bell and other defendants, while a broad range of illegal drugs were allegedly available in other parts of the motel.
The investigation revealed the women primarily lived at the motel, where it is alleged they were forced to perform commercial sex acts forced to turn over the proceeds to Bell and his associates. The indictment and other court papers allege that the women gave the co-conspirators 100 percent of their earnings.
So who will be the first to complain about ICE arresting this man?
(Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)