Attorney General Henry Leads Collaboration to Halt Multi-State Human Trafficking Operation

October 13, 2023 | Topic: Criminal

Ohio man arrested Friday morning; faces extradition for numerous trafficking offenses

HARRISBURG –  Attorney General Michelle Henry announced that collaboration with law enforcement partners halted a multi-state human trafficking ring and resulted in the arrest of the alleged trafficker Friday morning in Ohio.

Donte Lashawn Cole, 38, will be extradited to Pennsylvania where he will face numerous charges, including felony trafficking in individuals, corrupt organizations, and dealing in proceeds from illegal activity.

Cole is charged with recruiting at least three young women — one of them a juvenile — into the trafficking ring, and placing them in hotel rooms where they performed sex acts for money. The victims were fearful that if they tried to leave, Cole would harm them.

“The defendant, like most traffickers, was methodical and calculated in how he chose his victims. These victims were vulnerable and, once under the defendant’s control, felt they had no means of escape,” Attorney General Henry said. “I commend my team and our partner agencies for exposing and halting this trafficking ring. It is another crucial step in pulling these crimes out of the shadows and into the light, where offenders are held accountable and victims can find the help they need.”

The Office of Attorney General became aware of the operation during a drug investigation at a hotel in Monroeville, Pennsylvania.

Through the investigation, officials learned that Cole posted advertisements online, using photos of the victims.

It is alleged that the juvenile victim was recruited by Cole when she was only 12 years old.

The Office of Attorney General was assisted by Homeland Security Investigations, Northeast Human Trafficking Task Force, and Monroeville Police Department.

Investigators believe Cole was trafficking victims in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and several other states. Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to contact the Attorney General’s Child Predator Hotline at 1-800-385-1044. Concerned citizens can also report child abuse to the Pennsylvania ChildLine by calling 1-800-932-0313.

This case is being prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Summer Carroll. All charges are allegations and the

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